The father of the man who shot and killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando attended a rally for Hillary Clinton on Monday.
Seddique Mateen, Omar Mateen’s father, was spotted on Aug. 8 standing right behind Clinton in a crowd at a campaign rally in Kissimmee, Florida by local channel WPTV.
— WPTV (@WPTV) August 9, 2016
A reporter of the Palm Beach-based NBC affiliate station ran into Mateen by chance after the rally and was able to ask him why he was at the Democratic rally.
“Hillary Clinton is good for United States versus Donald Trump, who has no solutions,” Mateen said.
When he was asked about going to a Clinton event and sitting right behind her, he responded: “It’s a Democratic party, so everyone can join.”
Hillary’s rally in Florida had a special guest last night. Seddique Mateen, father of Orlando’s shooter Omar Mateen. pic.twitter.com/4IW7mitQKd
— Chef Mueller (@mack2308) August 9, 2016
“Why should they be surprised? I love the United States, and I’ve been living here a long time,” Mateen said.
Mateen said that he’s a member of the Democratic Party, and as such had received an emailed invitation to attend Clinton’s rally. “As a member I get the invitations, so there’s nothing particular about it,” he said.
The Clinton campaign responded to Mateen’s appearance, saying the rally was an open-door event where anyone could attend.
“The rally was a 3,000-person, open-door event for the public,” the campaign told the Orlando Sentinel. “This individual wasn’t invited as a guest and the campaign was unaware of his attendance until after the event.”
Mateen also showed reporters a sign—similar to signs he has posted on his Facebook page—that he made to support Clinton, while also calling for stricter gun control laws.
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) August 9, 2016
Omar Mateen shot and killed dozens of people in a packed gay nightclub in June before he was killed by police. At the time, Seddique Mateen said he and his family were “apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country.”
Asked about the terrorist attack by his son in the interview, Mateen, who is originally from Afghanistan and has publicly made statements in favor of the Taliban, said he and his family have “been cooperating with the federal government.”
“I wish that my son joined the army and fought ISIS and destroyed ISIS that would be much better,” he said.
Mateen hosts a TV program, the “Durand Jirga Show,” on a California-based Afghan TV station aimed at Afghans living in the United States. In Facebook videos posted on his account, he can be seen wearing a military uniform, calling himself the president of Afghanistan’s “transitional revolutionary government,” according to CBS News.
In photos posted to his Facebook, Mateen also sent messages to the Obama administration, including a photo of him with a banner that read: “Taliban are 100% AFGHAN. No one owns them & they are Durand Line Destroyer.” In another, he wrote: “Oh President Obama, Pakistan is the Capital of Terrorism” and another that says: “ISI Pakistan is the American & Afghan Soldiers Killer!”
During the rally, Clinton focused on jobs.
“We have an agenda that we’re going to get working on the very first day that includes new jobs and infrastructure, comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. We are going to keep our country safe, and yes, we are going to go after the gun lobby and pass some common sense gun-safety measures,” she said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.