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CNN’s Zeleny: Clinton Campaign Not Disavowing Support From Orlando Terrorist’s Father, ‘People Are Picked To Sit Behind Candidates’


On Tuesday’s broadcast of “CNN Newsroom,” CNN Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny stated that Seddique Mateen, the father of the perpetrator of the terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub told another reporter that he was “invited” to the rally held by Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he attended, that the Clinton campaign isn’t disavowing Mateen’s support, and that while the campaign claims they didn’t know Mateen was at the rally or onstage, “people are picked to sit behind candidates for part of the backdrop, and certainly he did become part of the backdrop.”

Zeleny said, “[T]here were some 3,000 people there, so I didn’t spot him, but a Florida reporter spotted him, who has seen him in the news, and certainly talked to him, and so they went up and talked to him afterward as he drove back down to his home in south Florida. And he said, look, I support Hillary Clinton, and I was invited to this rally, because I am a Democrat. He’s given some small contributions to local democratic efforts over the years. But the Clinton campaign certainly embarrassed by this, Brooke. They’re trying to downplay it and say, look, we did not know that he was in attendance at all. We didn’t know he was onstage until it was called to our attention afterward. Now, they’re not disavowing his support at all, because of course, he is a citizen here and can support who he wants in this campaign. But it’s certainly an awkward moment, particularly because he was sitting right behind her, and people are picked to sit behind candidates for part of the backdrop, and certainly he did become part of the backdrop.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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