Seddique Mateen, father of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, attended a campaign rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton this week. Rep. Brad Sherman, (D-Calif.), weighed in on the potential political impact for Clinton in a heated debate with FOX Business Network’s Charles Payne.
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When Payne suggested Mateen’s attendance at the rally was bad optics for Clinton’s campaign, Sherman responded, “Your comments are just ridiculous, a deranged man sneaks into the bleachers, that happens at every Yankee game.” Sherman continued, “Look, we’re putting on political rallies, the Yankees are putting on a baseball game. Do you think there couldn’t be a deranged person in the front row of the bleachers at a Yankees game?”
But when Payne tried to distinguish between a political rally and a baseball game, Sherman responded, “The Yankees are a well-honed baseball team but they don’t vet everybody who comes to the game.”
To which Payne reacted, “That is so intellectually dishonest, with all due respect, you can come up with something better than that.”
But Sherman explained that attendees at political rallies are not vetted.
“This is absolutely ridiculous. You invite the people to come to a rally. The people who show up first, get good seats, you don’t vet the people.”
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Payne then questioned why some rallies seemed to be designed for optics.
“So at none of these rallies, there is nothing designed for optics? I’ve seen rallies where the topics were women and there were a bunch of women in the background, where the topics were minorities and there were a bunch of minorities in the background. I mean let’s be honest about this.”
But when Sherman began to respond, “Look, stop calling me a liar. The fact is at a political rally, you may have 10 or 20 seats…” Payne retorted, “Sir you’re saying for a fact the people sitting directly behind the candidate are never vetted?”
But Sherman further clarified the security at political rallies.
“In a bleacher situation, I hope you show the picture. The people on the stage are vetted, but when you have a huge rally, most of the time you don’t vet the people who are there. And I’ve had lots of friends get good seats at political rallies just by showing up early. That doesn’t mean you can be on stage.”
Payne then raised concerns that Mateen was so close to Clinton.
“It’s really scary that he’s several seats behind the presidential candidate.”
Sherman said that even though the candidates can’t control who attends, Secret Service is there to protect the candidates.
“Well that’s why we have a Secret Service. And you’ll remember, there was an incident where somebody went after Trump. The fact is neither Trump nor Hillary can control who is in the arena. They both have huge arenas. And the Yankees can’t do it either and that’s why when we have these large events, we need to have security there.”
Payne viewed it as a mistake by the Clinton campaign that Mateen was allowed into the rally.
“This is a man who has thrust himself into the public spotlight on more than one occasion. And people know that whatever it is, whatever his sickness is, that perhaps he passed onto his son, he likes the limelight. Now, the fact that no one caught him, I just say it’s a big mistake for Hillary Clinton.”
But Sherman saw this as rhetoric espoused by the Trump campaign.
“That is the desperate line of a [Trump] campaign in freefall. A campaign that flirts with David Duke supporters and seeks racist votes and then tries to conflate that with who sneaks into the rally.”