Speed Reads

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A disgraced teen-sexting ex-congressman sat behind Donald Trump at a rally. Then things got surreal.

At a Donald Trump rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Wednesday evening, former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) showed up early to secure a good seat behind Trump so he'd be on TV, as he had during State of the Union Addresses. Foley resigned his congressional seat under pressure in 2006, after several teenage male congressional pages came forward with sexually explicit and solicitous text messages Foley had sent them; Foley denied any contact with the teens, and the FBI investigated and filed no criminal charges. Foley sat behind Trump the entire rally, in Trump's camera shot, just as Seddique Mateen, the father of the Orlando night club shooter, had during Hillary Clinton's Florida rally two days earlier. Nate Cohn at The New York Times has a good point:

Donald Trump disagreed:

"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?" Trump asked, pointing to the people behind him — including Foley. "And by the way, including a lot of the people here — how many of you people know me?" Foley smiled and waved. "A lot of you people know me. When you get those seats you sort of know the campaign, so when she said well we didn't knew, he knew, they knew," Trump said. (Clinton's campaign said that Mateen got a ticket on his own and was not invited, and that Clinton "disagrees with his views and disavows his support.")

The Trump campaign did not respond when NBC News asked if they knew Foley was at the event, but Foley said afterward that he is a Trump supporter and that Trump has "been a friend of mine for 30 years and one of my biggest contributors." The last final bizarre twist was caught by journalist Josh Barro:

Ninety days until the election, folks.