Hillary Clinton's campaign has disavowed the support of Seddique Mateen, the father of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, saying he was not an invited guest at a Florida rally Monday where he was spotted behind the presidential candidate.
Seddique Mateen was spotted in the crowd behind Clinton at a Kissimmee, Florida, rally, WPTV first reported. His 29-year-old son, Omar, opened fire on June 12 at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. Omar was later shot dead by police at the scene of the attack.
On Tuesday, campaign spokesman Nick Merrill told BuzzFeed News in an email that Clinton disagrees with Seddique Mateen's "views and disavows his support." Merrill said the rally was an open door event with thousands of attendees, that Mateen was not an invited guest, and that Clinton did not know he was there.
Seddique Mateen was spotted in the crowd just behind Clinton as she began her speech talking about the "grieving" family and friends of the Orlando shooting victims.
"Hillary Clinton is good for United States versus Donald Trump, who has no solutions," Mateen — who carried a banner proclaiming Clinton as "good for national security" and "gun control laws" — told WPTV after the rally.
When asked about his decision to attend the event near Orlando where the shooting took place, Mateen said, "I spoke a lot about that. I wish that my son joined the Army and fought ISIS and destroyed ISIS. That would be much better."
He said people should not be surprised that he attended the rally: "I love United States. I've been living here for a long time."
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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