- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The father of Islamist gay-nightclub shooter Omar Mateen is supporting Hillary Clinton for president and attended a rally for the candidate Monday, standing near the stage as she addressed the crowd.

Seddique Mateen, a native of Afghanistan, appeared in several TV shots behind Mrs. Clinton as she spoke in Kissimmee, Florida.

“Hillary Clinton is good for United States versus Donald Trump, who has no solutions,” he told WPTV later in an interview.

Omar Mateen attacked patrons at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a bar popular with the gay community, on June 12 and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. He was killed by police.

Asked by a reporter why he attended Mrs. Clinton’s rally near Orlando, Mr. Mateen replied, “I spoke a lot about that and wish that my son joined the Army and fought ISIS. That would be much better.” ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State.

He said his family has been “cooperating with the federal government” in the investigation of the shooting, but didn’t elaborate.

During the rally, Mrs. Clinton addressed the Orlando shooting, saying, “I know how many people, families, loved ones, and friends are still grieving, and we will be with you as you rebuild your lives.” Last month, Mrs. Clinton visited a memorial outside the nightclub and held a roundtable discussion on gun violence.

Asked whether Mrs. Clinton’s campaign knew he attended the event and sat directly behind the candidate, Mr. Mateen said, “It’s a democratic party, so everyone can join.”

When the reporter asked if Mr. Mateen thought people would be surprised to see him at the rally, he replied, “Why should they be surprised? I love the United States, and I’ve been living here a long time.”

Mr. Mateen is a fringe political commentator who has regularly slammed Pakistan and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. He occasionally hosted a television show on an Afghan satellite channel based in the U.S.

An unnamed official with the Clinton campaign told WPTV, “The rally was a 3,000-person, open-door event for the public. This individual wasn’t invited as a guest and the campaign was unaware of his attendance until after the event.”

Mr. Matteen brought a sign to the Clinton rally, praising the candidate for “good national security,” and “gun control laws.” The sign also proclaimed that “Ex-CIA Chief [Michael] Morrell: ‘Hillary told the truth about Benghazi.’”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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