Controversial Congressman Behind Trump at Florida Rally as He Attacks Clinton for Similar Bad Optics
Controversial Congressman Behind Trump at Florida Rally as He Attacks Clinton for Similar Bad Optics

Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton at a rally in Sunrise, near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for being seen on stage with the father of the Orlando nightclub terrorist, Seddique Mateen behind her at a rally in Kissimmee on Aug. 8, but Trump had his own controversy sitting right behind him.

“Wasn’t it terrible when the father of the animal that killed the wonderful people in Orlando was sitting with a big smile on his face right behind Hillary Clinton?” Trump said. 

Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people in a packed gay nightclub in June before he was killed by police. His father has since apologized for the incident, and said that he’s a member of the Democratic Party, and as such had received an emailed invitation to attend Clinton’s rally.

However, Clinton wasn’t the only presidential candidate to have a controversial audience member sitting behind her in the Sunshine State. Seated behind Trump was former U.S. Representative Mark Foley (R-Fl.).

Foley sat behind Trump in a similar position Mateen sat relative to Clinton at her rally.

The former congressman, a Republican who represented southern Florida, was forced to resign his seat in September 2006 in the wake of allegations that he had sent sent suggestive emails and instant messages to congressional pages. Some of the recipients of the messages were under the age of 18.

At one point Trump turned to the audience and said, “How many of you people know me? A lot of people know me.” 

Foley, among others, raised his hand and waved. 

After the rally, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts caught up with Foley on Twitter and asked him if he was a Trump supporter. 

“Yes,” Foley told Roberts. “He’s been a friend of mine for 30 years and [was] one of my biggest contributors.”

Trump and Clinton are both battling for support of key Florida voters, which is one of the most important battleground states. In the latest polls, Clinton leads Trump in Florida by 2.2 points in a Real Clear Politics average—45.0 to 42.8. 

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