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Having Your Back

You know those people who get to stand behind the candidate at political rallies? So they can be seen while the candidate speaks? Last week seems to have been a big ironic example of the fact that the campaigns themselves don’t have much control over who gets to stand there.

First, a local TV station noticed that standing behind Hillary Clinton at a rally near Orlando was the father of Orlando mass shooter Omar Mateen. While the father is cooperating with the investigation into the shooting and the rally was open to the public (Clinton had no knowledge that he attended until after the event) the optics look really bad.

So of course, at his next rally in Florida, Donald Trump said:

Wasn’t it terrible when the father of the animal that killed the wonderful people in Orlando was sitting with a big smile on his face right behind Hillary Clinton? How many of you people know me? A lot of you people know me. Right? When you get those seats, you sort of know the campaign.

Of course, Trump was suggesting a connection between the Clinton campaign and the shooting.

But here’s the irony. As Trump said those words, sitting right behind him with a big smile on his face was former congressman Mark Foley, who was forced to resign in 2006 when he was caught sending lewd emails and messages to teenage male House pages. When Trump asked who knew him, Foley raised his hand and waved in response. And after the event, Foley told NBC that Trump had been a friend of his for 30 years and was one of his biggest contributors.

What does that suggest to you?

Also published on Medium.



  1. Wildwood wrote:

    “What does that suggest to you?” It suggests that Trump has no problem with Foley’s actions. They probably exchange “good ole boy” stories about their own good times. But in the end it doesn’t matter to the Trumpcolytes.

    Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink
  2. David Freeman wrote:

    “What does that suggest to you?” It suggests that an apparently innocent but tragic man supports Clinton while a man who is proven guilty supports Trump. Plus what Wildwood said.

    Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink
  3. Ralph wrote:

    I’d be the last one to (gasp!) defend Trump, but I haven’t heard whether or not he was actually aware of Foley’s, let’s call them, “escapades” during the time he pursued them nor his reaction to, or relationship with, him after he was caught with his pants down, so to speak. Foley apparently went to considerable lengths to hide his illegal fetish in the closet as long as possible, much like Larry Craig practiced his “wide stance” largely in airport stalls (and other such classy establishments no doubt) and, until the bust, kept it a closely held secret from his family and associates.

    That being said, it’s no surprise Trump used the Clinton event to further pander to the faithful by drawing another false equivalency. This type of distraction and distortion has been his one trick pony all along (just like his business dealings) and if the polls are any indication, is quickly wearing thin with a majority of the electorate. Hillary, much to her credit and savvy, pretty much ignored the whole non-story and was happy to let Trump trap himself into yet another sticky web of his own weaving.

    At this point, she and her staffers must be high-fiving each other every day at their good fortune to being pitted against someone who has proven himself laughably unprepared for the big leagues and seems to be gradually morphing into a caricature of his own self on national TV.

    On the bright side, he’s done a valuable service to us all (of a certain IQ) of starkly exposing the extremism, racism, science denial-ism, and disturbing proto-fascism that exists in a significant wing of the GOP. What we can hope to do about that is another thing, but it’s no doubt Democrats are thanking their lucky stars all up and down the ticket.

    Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    The irony was that Trump was claiming that in order for Omar Mateen’s father to appear behind Clinton at a rally, he would have had the knowledge and support of the Clinton campaign. Therefore, by his own logic, Trump must have approved of Foley being in that position.

    Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
  5. Ralph wrote:

    Haha, there’s our latest oxymoron – “Trump logic”.

    If there’s one thing he should have learned after all his years in the limelight, but apparently hasn’t, is you don’t pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel!

    Monday, August 15, 2016 at 6:23 am | Permalink
  6. TJ wrote:

    The biggest problem I have is that Clinton took the bait and issued this statement: “[Clinton] disagrees with [Mateen’s] views and disavows his support.”

    Why in the world did they not stick with “it was a public event; we didn’t know he was there”? What kind of message is that statement supposed to send? He is the father of a criminal, but he is not himself guilty of anything that we know of. She doesn’t have to embrace him, but why attack him? Classless. Makes me think she won’t have the courage to stand up for herself.

    Monday, August 15, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    TJ, I don’t see your point. First, I’m not sure how disagreeing with someone’s views is the same as attacking them.

    Seddique Mateen (the father) has spoken out against gays, saying “God will punish those involved in homosexuality”. I think that alone justifies Clinton disavowing his support. He also has a radio show that is pro-Taliban. See

    Personally, I think Clinton’s response was measured and appropriate. Why wouldn’t she disagree with his views?

    Monday, August 15, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink
  8. TJ wrote:

    Well, she should expand on his “views” that she disagrees with then. I admit I didn’t do much research into the subject, just assuming that she was trying to distance herself because of the controversy based on his son being a criminal. If he has views worth distancing from then so be it. However, her statement didn’t give any other info so I would bet that most people are going to jump to thhe same conclusions I did.

    Monday, August 15, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink
  9. aNONyMouse wrote:

    I jumped to the same conclusion. I don’t have time to research everything, and politicians usually play to that. It seems to me that she should have said more.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink