• Politics

Hillary Clinton Campaign Says It Didn’t Know Orlando Shooter’s Father Was at Rally

2 minute read

Hillary Clinton’s campaign said the father of the gunman who killed 49 people in a shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in June was not invited to her rally on Monday in Kissimmee, Fla., where he appeared in the crowd behind Clinton as she spoke at the podium.

In an interview after the rally with local television station WPTV, Seddique Mateen said he is supporting Clinton for president and decided to attend the event as a member of the Democratic Party.

“It’s a Democratic party, so everyone can join,” he told WPTV. “Hillary Clinton is good for United States versus Donald Trump, who has no solutions.”

Read more: Orlando Shooter’s Father Posted Bizarre Videos on Afghan Politics

Clinton’s campaign downplayed Mateen’s attendance.

“The rally was a 3,000-person, open-door event for the public,” the campaign said in a statement on Tuesday, the New York Times reported. “This individual wasn’t invited as a guest and the campaign was unaware of his attendance until after the event.”

Clinton spoke about the victims of the Orlando shooting at the beginning of the rally, which took place just outside Orlando.

“I know how many people, family members, loved ones and friends are still grieving and I want them to know that we will be with you, as you rebuild your lives,” she said, according to CBS News.

When asked about attending an event in close proximity to the site of the shooting, Mateen told WPTV that he wished his son had joined the U.S. Army and fought ISIS.

Asked if people would be surprised by his presence at the rally, Mateen said: “Why should they be surprised? I love the United States, and I’ve been living here a long time.”

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com