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Op-Ed: Seddique Mateen Attended a Clinton Rally, and That’s Okay



“I Love the United States,” U.S. Citizen Seddique Mateen Said

Seddique Mateen attended Hillary Clinton’s rally on Monday in Kissimmee, Florida.

Kissimmee is around 30 minutes south of Orlando. Mateen’s attendance is in the news because he is the father of the Pulse Nightclub shooter, a terrorist responsible for the deaths of 49 people and the injuries of 53 more in the deadliest anti-gay hate crime in U.S. history, the deadliest terror attack since 9/11, and the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Tory Dunnan of WPTV first broke the news of Mateen’s attendance at the rally, which began with Clinton expressing her gratitude for “the leadership and the people of Orlando and Central Florida for [their] love and compassion.” She continued, “I know how many people, loved ones and friends, are still grieving… I want them to know that we will be with you.”

Clinton, who visited the site of Pulse Nightclub personally and privately met with the families and friends of the victims in an unpublicized event, offered that “we will be with you as you rebuild your lives, as you rebuild hope for the future, because we can’t ever let that kind of hatred and violence break the spirit, break the soul, of any place in America.”

When asked if Clinton’s campaign knew he would be attending, or if that they knew he was sitting directly behind her, Mateen advised that “it’s a Democratic party, so everyone can join.”

Clinton’s campaign released a statement to WPTV today, advising “[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.”

The Clinton campaign has since denounced his support.

A co-worker shared with me a few of the news stories which were beginning to circulate concerning the matter, knowing that I am both gay and a Hillary Clinton supporter. “This might make you mad,” he warned.

It did.

Not for the reason some may have thought; not because Seddique Mateen had the “audacity” to attend. Because that in opposition of factual data and research, conservative media outlets and failed politicians took to social media to offer their position on the matter, sharing false information to boot: 

As a registered Democrat and as someone who has subscribed to receive email from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I can attest to being made aware of her visit to my own city days before she was scheduled to appear (and subsequently make her Kissimmee appearance.) I RSVP’d in hope that I could attend, just as any interested party could have done for Kissimmee’s event:


After you RSVP, you receive a confirmation email providing the specifics: when, where, parking, arrival details and security information, the last of which likens the event to airport-style security. (They do not, however, check your ID.) The email begins, “Friend, you are receiving this email because you have RSVP’d to join Hillary Clinton…”

My email did not begin with “Ryan Jent,” and thus, Seddique Mateen’s wouldn’t have begun with his name. This mirrors the statements that both the campaign and Mateen made: RSVPs do not a personal invitation make.

Even if they did, however, Seddique Mateen is a human being. The father of another human being responsible for unforgivable, heinous actions, yes, but a human being and a United States citizen just the same. WPTV inquired about his attendance at the event, asking if he thought it may surprise others. “Why should they be surprised?” he asked. “I love the United States, and I’ve been living here a long time.”

His right to attend a public rally, particularly during an election cycle featuring a candidate who has demonized the entirety of the Muslim community (going so far as to attack even the parents of a fallen soldier), is unquestionable to me.

His right to support a candidate who lobbies for common sense gun control, when he himself has denounced the actions of his son, is unquestionable to me. 

It’s understandable that some may see his attendance, or at least his position directly behind Clinton, as being in poor taste. (Though I’m forced to wonder if Timothy McVeigh’s parents, or the parents of a Columbine shooter, would face the same scrutiny.) But we cannot rally against Seddique Mateen simply because he was there. We cannot rally against him because he’s Muslim, or when the only crime he’s “guilty” of is that he’s the father of a madman. We cannot rally against him for the politically-infused videos he’s posted on YouTube, which the Associated Press has found “did not show support by Mateen for the Taliban,” and are often publicized as incoherent or pro-Taliban due to their (perhaps spastic) nature.

We cannot even rally against him because of his oft-misquoted comment on homosexuality, in which he actually said that ‘on the issue… it can be punished only by God, it is not the business of a person. [Omar] has killed those people, and I am so saddened.”

This is not the same thing as saying that homosexuality will be, or should be, punished by God. It is not denouncing the LGBT community, it is denouncing his son’s actions. It is not courting to anti-LGBT hate groups, in which Donald Trump is again scheduled to do. 

It is one man’s opinion, an opinion which we have the opportunity to change with our actions and our reactions.

I wouldn’t have Seddique Mateen afraid to show his face anywhere, let alone at a rally for American citizens supporting a candidate and party that promises inclusion and unity rather than the party that promises extradition and despair.

This isn’t news. It shouldn’t be news. Do not make it news. And certainly do not use it as news to deflect another presidential candidate’s calls for the assassination of his opponent. Last night, Senior Advisor to the Trump campaign Boris Epstein did just that on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.”

When pressed on Trump’s comments, he deflected, “I’d also love to talk about issues like the Orlando killer’s father being at the Hillary Clinton event, front and center… right behind her… saying he was invited there by the Democratic party. What does that say about where she stands on terrorism, and where she stands on safety?”

I had the opportunity to ask O’Donnell what he thought about Epstein’s deflection via his Facebook Live broadcast which followed the episode, seen below at the 5:57 mark:

Posted by The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday, August 9, 2016

“That’s a separate subject,” O’Donnell responded candidly. “…at a rally with thousands of people, you’re not responsible for everybody who shows up. I think you are responsible for the kind of people who show up on a regular basis, and when you regularly attract white supremacists and people like that… or any group that you regularly attract, you can say there’s something this campaign is doing to attract them.” 

We’ve seen groups that the Trump campaign has continuously attracted, and David Duke has long been a supporter. As a U.S. citizen, I know which campaign rally I’d rather attend, and I can say that it’s likely Seddique Mateen went for similar reasons. 

I’ve said before that criminalizing the Muslim community for the actions of one man is not okay, and likewise, criminalizing even one man for the actions of another isn’t okay either. The LGBT community has been the Muslim community, we’ve been in Seddique Mateen’s position: hated, feared, misunderstood. Questioned, berated, threatened, afraid.

We must never condone treating an entire community, nor even one man, as poorly as the LGBT community has been treated, and certainly not because of the actions of one man. When you come for one minority, you come for us all.

Clinton’s full Kissimmee speech can be seen below. In it, Clinton advises that “this election really does come down to what kind of people we are in our country. What kind of values we really cherish. And I am proud to be on the side of those who want to build a positive, optimistic future.”

Seddique Mateen is visible in the video, along with dozens of others who attended the 3,000-person event. Dozens of others who advocate that as a community, as a people, as a nation, yes: we are stronger together.

All of us.


Image: Screenshot via YouTube

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‘Every Time You Talk It’s a Campaign Speech’: Judge Blasts Trump’s Lawyer



The judge presiding over New York’s civil business fraud case against Donald Trump had a “testy exchange” with one of the ex-president’s attorneys, this time over the lawyer’s demand he be allowed to call as a witness the monitor overseeing Trump’s real estate holdings and who may oversee the disgorgment of some of his assets.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who already was forced to impose a gag order on Donald Trump and subsequently the lawyers for the ex-president, criticized attorney Chris Kise on Monday afternoon.

Last year Judge Engoron had appointed former U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones as a monitor for the Trump Organization.

“The Trump family’s lawyer Clifford Robert asked to call her to the witness stand on Monday, a request that Engoron promptly denied,” The Messenger reports. “’Besides being untimely and inappropriate, Judge Jones and her staff are arms of the court,’ Engoron said in a denial from the bench, adding that having her also testify would invite a conflict of interest.”

READ MORE: Johnson Suggests Santos May Resign – Will Indicted Congressman Try to Burn the House Down First?

Trump’s lawyers appear to want to use Jones to rebut Judge Engoron’s pre-trial ruling that Trump is liable for fraud.

Trump Hotels’s chief accounting officer Mark Hawthorn testified that he had had “ongoing conversations” with Jones.

“There were concerns they highlighted that required more and we responded diligently and adequately, but I would say no one from the team communicated to us [that] they uncovered any fraud or irregularities,” Hawthorn said.

The Messenger’s Adam Klasfeld reported on Monday, Trump attorney Chris Kise told the judge, “They’re the only ones in the courtroom jumping up and down claiming there’s fraud. The bank isn’t. The monitor isn’t.”

“Every time you talk, it’s a campaign speech,” Judge Engoron responded.


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Johnson Suggests Santos May Resign – Will Indicted Congressman Try to Burn the House Down First?



Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on Monday afternoon said he has spoken to U.S. Rep. George Santos, suggesting the embattled and indicted New York Republican might resign rather than face an impending expulsion vote he’s likely to lose. But over the holiday weekend, Santos suggested he was not going to go without a fight, as he appeared to take a page out of another embattled Republican’s book: former U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn.

Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman reports Speaker Johnson says he has spoken to Congressman Santos “at ‘length’ about his ‘options’ ahead of expulsion vote. Johnson seemed like the house may avoid a vote — which would mean resignation.” (See video below.)

House Republicans allowed Santos to be seated despite news that he had manufactured his resume and even his religion, news that continued after Republicans allowed him to be sworn in. They refused to expel him when he was indicted on 23 federal felonies including for alleged wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and lying to Congress.

READ MORE: ‘How Sick Your Soul’: Conservatives Slammed for Suing Over Program Supporting Pregnant Black Women

But last week’s damning Ethics Committee report provides, in great detail, “overwhelming evidence” of alleged misconduct, and even more evidence of his alleged criminal acts – beyond what even federal prosecutors listed in their indictments. And it has led to public outcry, forcing some House Republicans to rethink their refusal to expel him.

That report alleges Santos used campaign donor cash for shopping trips, Botox, and even the not-safe-for work site OnlyFans.

Over the weekend, Rep. Santos spoke on an audio forum hosted at X, formerly Twitter, and indicated not only would he not resign, he appeared to suggest he might take down some Republicans along the way.

In March of 2022, U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), amid mounting scandals, lashed out on a podcast, denouncing what he claimed was the “sexual perversion that goes on in Washington,” and alleged some of his colleagues he grew up looking up to, had used cocaine at “orgies.”

In a similar vein, Rep. Santos on Friday in that audio forum, “said he does not want to continue working with ‘a bunch of hypocrites’ in Congress, whom he accused of committing infractions more severe than his, including being ‘more worried about getting drunk every night’ with lobbyists,” The Washington Post reported. “Santos, without providing evidence, also accused his colleagues of trying to ‘sell off the American people’ and of voting while hung over.”

READ MORE: Trump Serves Up ‘Sarcastic’ Reason Why He Uses Obama’s Name Instead of Biden’s

“Within the ranks of United States Congress, there’s felons galore,” Santos alleged.

But he also declared, “I’m not leaving.” “Come hell or high water … it’s done when I say it’s done,” and yet, admitted he would likely be expelled.

“I know I’m going to get expelled when this expulsion resolution goes to the floor,” he said. “I’ve done the math over and over, and it doesn’t look really good.”

Santos, also “described himself in the conversation as the Republican ‘It Girl’ as well as the ‘Mary Magdalene of the United States Congress.'”

If he does not resign, Congressman Santos could face an expulsion vote this week.

Watch the video below or at this link.

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Trump Serves Up ‘Sarcastic’ Reason Why He Uses Obama’s Name Instead of Biden’s



A little before 7:30 AM on Monday Fox Business News host Maria Bartiromo demanded to know “who’s running the show here?” and asked if President Joe Biden knows “what’s going on or is he being directed by President Obama?”

There is no credible reporting that President Barack Obama is directing President Joe Biden on running the country, nor is there any credible reporting that President Biden needs him to.

But less than 45 minutes after Bartiromo’s baseless attack on President Biden, Donald Trump served up what appeared to be a response to news reports questioning his own cognitive abilities – and suggested he thinks Obama is “having a very big influence” in running the country.

MSNBC’s Brian Tyler Cohen, in a six-minute opinion video in late September, detailed some of Trump’s errors, including suggesting he beat Barack Obama in 2016 and World War II had not happened yet.

READ MORE: ‘How Sick Your Soul’: Conservatives Slammed for Suing Over Program Supporting Pregnant Black Women

Earlier this month, Forbes reported Trump recently has “mixed up” Biden with Obama at least seven times.

Last month, the Biden campaign posted one of Trump’s “flubs,” where he mixed up Biden and Obama.

Mediate reported that in a lengthier version of the audio, “Kilmeade corrects Trump, who then pretends he meant to say ‘Obama’ all along — forcing Kilmeade to correct him again.”

Also last month, Trump’s current top 2024 opponent, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, slammed Trump for apparent errors and confusion.

The mainstream media is taking notice of Trump’s flubs and misstatements as well, and not just of the ex-president mixing up his predecessor and his successor.

“Mr. Trump has had a string of unforced gaffes, garble and general disjointedness that go beyond his usual discursive nature, and that his Republican rivals are pointing to as signs of his declining performance,” The New York Times reported late last month. “In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has also told supporters not to vote, and claimed to have defeated President Barack Obama in an election. He has praised the collective intellect of an Iranian-backed militant group that has long been an enemy of both Israel and the United States, and repeatedly mispronounced the name of the armed group that rules Gaza.”

“In recent speeches,” The Washington Post reported two weeks ago, “Trump has incorrectly described Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban as the leader of Turkey and falsely suggested Hungary shares a border with Russia. He has repeatedly referred to the Obama administration when he meant the Biden administration, and at one point he inaccurately suggested he’d beaten Obama — rather than Hillary Clinton — in the 2016 election.”

READ MORE: RNC Tightening Its Belt to ‘Keep the Party From Going Into the Red’: Report

But now, Trump is offering what he claims is his intentional reason for appearing to mix up Obama and Biden.


And his suggestion that, like Bartiromo asked, he alleges former President Obama is really in charge.

“Whenever I sarcastically insert the name Obama for Biden as an indication that others may actually be having a very big influence in running our Country, Ron DeSanctimonious and his failing campaign apparatus, together with the Democrat’s Radical Left ‘Disinformation Machine,’ go wild saying that ‘Trump doesn’t know the name of our President, (CROOKED!) Joe Biden. He must be cognitively impaired,’ ” Trump wrote Monday on his Truth Social account.

He insisted, “I know both names very well, never mix them up, and know that they are destroying our Country.”

Trump then claimed he “just took a cognitive test as part of my Physical Exam, and ACED it.”

READ MORE: ‘Trump Says His Threats Aren’t Threats’: Legal Expert Explains Latest Gag Order Twist

Watch the voice above or at this link.



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