The Muslim father of a U.S. soldier killed while serving in Iraq passionately admonished Donald Trump Thursday night for his hateful rhetoric, religious intolerance and overall disrespect of communities and cultures.
In what has been called the most powerful speech given at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, Khizr Khan said he and his family never would have been able to come to the United States and his son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, never would have served in the military under Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country. Khan and his family immigrated to the United States from the United Arab Emirates when his son was two years old.
“Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country,” Khan declared to a packed arena with his wife standing beside him.
He continued, speaking directly to Trump: “Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution” As the audience erupted in cheers, Khan pulled out his pocket edition and said: “I will gladly lend you my copy” and challenged Trump to “look for the words liberty and equal protection [under] law.”
Capt. Khan was killed in Iraq in 2004 at age 27 by a car bomb. After telling his fellow soldiers to stay clear of the suspicious vehicle, he approached it, and it exploded. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors and posthumously awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
“Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son the best of America,” Khan said, and further rebuked Trump.
“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending United States of America,” he said. “You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities.”
And then Khan unleashed on Trump: “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
The response to Khan’s address was overwhelming, both in the arena, as well as on social media and other commentary, and was praised by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Outspoken conservative pundit Erick Erickson, and former editor of “Red State,” tweeted: “If you are a Republican, you should watch this and be ashamed of what you have done.”
Meghan McCain, the daughter of Sen. John McCain, a veteran and former prisoner of war, tweeted: “Most powerful speech of the DNC easily from a patriotic American, Khizr Khan. They should just end with that.”
In an interview with CNN on Friday morning, Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, said “That was probably one of the most moving events of the entire four days when he talked about his son. I got a boy in the Marines, so I hear somebody who sacrificed a child in military service. It really grabs you.”
Khan wrapped uphis address saying: “We can’t solve our problems by building walls and sowing division. We are stronger together.”
(Related Premium Content: DiversityInc Digest: Ramadan.)