Orlando shooter's father attends Hillary Clinton rally in KissimmeeHow did this guy get a choice seat sitting behind the candidate, in camera range? Political-insider journalists are blaming bad planning by Clinton's team, even as right-wingers are chuckling over the endorsement, reminding us that the elder Mateen has denounced homosexuality and expressed support for the Taliban.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Hillary Clinton spoke to a crowd in Kissimmee, just south of Orlando. She was supposed to be talking jobs, but started the speech off paying tribute to those affected by the Pulse Nightclub shooting....
WPTV happened to notice [a] man, who has a mustache and was wearing a red hat, behind Clinton. It was Seddique Mateen, the father of Orlando mass shooter Omar Mateen.
... hours later, we ran into him by chance at a rest stop on the way back to West Palm Beach. He wanted to do an interview and show us a sign he made for Clinton.
"Hillary Clinton is good for United States versus Donald Trump, who has no solutions," he said.
The Clinton campaign has issued a statement:
I don't know how much choreography is involved in seating arrangements for rallies of this kind. I do know that Mateen seems like the kind of guy who'd want to be on camera at this event just because, well, he's crazy and likes to be on camera.
Here's what Time wrote about a series of YouTube videos Mateen has made:
Siddique Mateen ... has been airing an amateur interview show on YouTube called the “Durand Jirga Show.”His politics are incoherent:
... Mateen started the recordings in 2011, and they became more preposterous since, with him wearing Army fatigues at points, several Afghanistan observers say.
In an interview, Mateen first said he wore the fatigues in the video because “those are the clothes I wear,” then said he bought them for Halloween. He said he paid about $100 for them.
In several videos translated for TIME, Mateen announces himself as the new president of the country and asks all government employees in Afghanistan to obey his orders and no one else’s. He subsequently orders the arrest of the real Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, as well as several other senior officials, whom he refers to as traitors.
In some videos he criticizes the Taliban, and in others he credits them for bringing Pashtuns together. “Our brothers in Waziristan, our fighting brothers in the Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,” he says in one video.He's not thought of as particularly rational:
... days after his son Omar Mateen killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub in what is now considered the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, the elder Mateen condemned the Taliban. When asked about the apparent support he voiced in his videos, he said, “Those are the killers. They kill the people of Afghanistan. You think I support the killers?” and added, “I wanted to bring the peace, and the Taliban is the main problem.”
When pressed further, he said “the translation must be wrong.”
“A few years back, Siddique Mateen popped up out of the blue and starting sloganeering on the Durand issue,” [Barnett] Rubin, the Senior Fellow and Director at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, told TIME.More, from Slate's Isaac Chotiner:
“He’s a megalomaniac. And according to all of my Pashtun contacts, he’s totally unknown and totally irrelevant,” Rubin says.... “... It seems to me that he has a personality disorder,” Rubin adds.
As CBS news reports:He likes to be photographed in the corridors of power:
He claims to have his own intelligence agency and close ties to the U.S. Congress -- assets he says he will use to subvert Pakistani influence and take control of Afghanistan. After watching his videos -- none of which were recorded in English -- CBS News' Ahmad Mukhtar said it seemed possible that Seddique Mateen is delusional. “He thinks he runs a government in exile and will soon take the power in Kabul in a revolution,” notes Mukhtar.
So if he got himself close to the candidate and in sight of the cameras, that doesn't surprise me at all. He labors under the delusion that he's a world-historic figure.
I don't want to criticize the Clinton campaign because Mateen's appearance at the rally was bad optics. I certainly don't entertain idiot right-wing ideas that Clinton is now yoked to the more objectionable things Mateen has said. But Mateen clearly isn't a stable guy -- although he seems non-violent and no law enforcement agency seems to regard him as a threat. Maybe he's no real risk, but he probably should set off some alarm bells if he's anywhere near any candidate. That's all that concerns me here.