Metro Weekly

Clinton campaign “unaware” Orlando shooter’s father was at rally

Aides respond to public outcry after Omar Mateen's father Seddique is spotted at a Clinton campaign rally

Seddique Mateen speaking to WPTV - Photo: WPTV.
Seddique Mateen speaking to WPTV – Photo: WPTV.

The Hillary Clinton campaign went on defense Tuesday, attempting to downplay the presence of the father of Omar Mateen, the assailant in the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in June, at a campaign rally held in Kissimmee, Fla.

Mateen’s father, Seddique, was positioned behind Clinton as she spoke at the event. In an ironic twist, Clinton began her remarks by expressing sympathy for the survivors and families of the victims of the Pulse shooting, and praising the first responders who helped victims.

On Tuesday morning, as news of his attendance set off an uproar on social media, the Clinton campaign downplayed Mr. Mateen’s presence at the rally.

“The rally was a 3,000-person, open-door event for the public,” the campaign said in a statement emailed to The New York Times. “This individual wasn’t invited as a guest and the campaign was unaware of his attendance until after the event.”
 

The elder Mateen was spotted and identified by West Palm Beach-area affiliate WPTV, who interviewed him following the rally.

“We have been helping, and we were cooperating with federal government, FBI, and that’s about it,” he told WPTV’s Tory Dunnan shortly after the event.

But Dunnan and her cameraman ran into Mateen again at a rest stop on their way back to West Palm Beach. Mateen told Dunnan that Hillary Clinton was the best choice for president of the United States, not Trump. He also showed WPTV a banner he made which reads:

“Hillary Clinton:

-Makes the biggest investment since WWII.

-Good for National Security.

-Ex-CIA Chef Morell ‘Hillary told the truth about Benghazi.’

-Gun Control.”

Mateen also said he was invited by the Democratic Party via a mass email calling Democrats to attend the Clinton rally, but did not receive a personalized invitation from the campaign.

“It’s a Democratic party, so everyone can join,” he said.

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