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.