In typical Trump fashion, the Republican presidential nominee over the weekend lashed out against the Muslim parents of an Iraq War veteran killed in action; further insulted the soldier’s mother by invoking a Muslim stereotype; and demeaned all families who have lost loved ones in combat, calling his hard work, success and charitable giving comparable sacrifices.
In what has been called the most powerful speech given at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week, Khizr Khan, with his wife Ghazala Khan standing beside him, passionately admonished Trump for his hateful rhetoric, religious intolerance and overall disrespect of communities and cultures. He also told Trump: “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Humayun Khan, a 27-year-old Army captain, was killed in a car bombing in 2004 in Iraq while protecting his fellow soldiers.
Khan’s wife responded to Trump’s continued attack on the Khans in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post on Sunday.
“Donald Trump has asked why I did not speak at the Democratic convention. He said he would like to hear from me. Here is my answer to Donald Trump: Because without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart.
“I cannot walk into a room with pictures of Humayun. Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could
“When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant. If he studied the real Islam and Koran, all the ideas he gets from terrorists would change, because terrorism is a different religion. Donald Trump said he has made a lot of sacrifices. He doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means.”
Khizr Khan added over the weekend that his wife also suffers from high blood pressure and was overcome with emotion following the speech.
“Trump is totally void of any decency because he is unaware of how to talk to a Gold Star family and how to speak to a Gold Star mother,” Khan said on weekend news shows. “He is devoid of feeling the pain of a mother who has sacrificed her son.”
Throughout the weekend, Trump and his surrogates continued to defend his criticism of the Khans, saying the issue of terrorism cannot be ignored. Even in response to George Stephanopoulos asking him on ABC News over the weekendwhat he would say to a grieving father, Trump replied, “I’d say, ‘We’ve had a lot of problems with radical Islamic terrorism.'”
Trump’s most recent behavior drew strong condemnation not only from the Hillary Clinton campaign and Muslims in the U.S., but from many Republican leaders as well.
“This is going to a place where we’ve never gone before, to push back against the families of the fallen. There used to be some things that were sacred in American politics that you don’t do like criticizing the parents of a fallen soldier even if they criticize you,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a statement. “If you’re going to be leader of the free world, you have to be able to accept criticism. Mr. Trump can’t. The problem is, ‘unacceptable’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.”
Jeb Bush on Sunday evening tweeted, “This is so incredibly disrespectful of a family that endured the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
This is so incredibly disrespectful of a family that endured the ultimate sacrifice for our country. https://t.co/TQcMuwXTKV
Jeb Bush (@JebBush) July 31, 2016
Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s top advisor John Weaver tweeted: “Trump’s slur against Captain Khan’s mother is, even for him, beyond the pale. He has NO redeeming qualities.”
Trump’s slur against Captain Khan’s mother is, even for him, beyond the pale. He has NO redeeming qualities.
John Weaver (@JWGOP) July 30, 2016
Peter Wehner, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, tweeted: “Memo to Trump supporters: He’s a man of sadistic cruelty. With him there’s no bottom. Now go ahead & defend him.”
Memo to Trump supporters: He’s a man of sadistic cruelty. With him there’s no bottom. Now go ahead & defend him.
Peter Wehner (@Peter_Wehner) July 30, 2016
Sen. John McCain issued a lengthy personal statement Monday strongly condemning Trump. McCain, who noted his son also served in the Iraq War and whose family has served in the U.S. military for generations, said: “It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party. While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.”
McCain added: “In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents. He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates. In the end, I am morally bound to speak only to the things that command my allegiance, and to which I have dedicated my life’s work: the Republican Party, and more importantly, the United States of America. I will not refrain from doing my utmost by those lights simply because it may benefit others with whom I disagree.”
Over the weekend Trump criticized Ghazala Khan, implying she was not allowed to speak alongside her husband, invoking stereotypes of subservient Muslim women.
“If you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me,” Trump told Stephanopoulos. In an interview with the New York Times Friday night, Trump said, “I’d like to hear his wife say something.”
In addition to the Khans, Trump also devalued the sacrifices made by other families of those killed in combat. In response to what sacrifices he has made, Trump told Stephanopoulos he’s “made a lot of sacrifices. I’ve worked very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.”