Criticism grows for Trump’s assailing of US Muslim vet’s family
A growing chorus of GOP lawmakers chastised Trump for sparring with the Khans, who appeared at the DNC
Angry and anxious, Republican lawmakers and veteran’s groups hastened to disavow Donald Trump’s repeated criticism of a bereaved military family Monday, but the GOP presidential nominee refused to back down. He complained anew that he had been “viciously attacked” by the parents of a Muslim US Army captain who was killed in Iraq.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war, led the charge, saying Trump did not have “unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.” The Veterans of Foreign Wars, the nation’s oldest and largest veteran’s organization, called Trump out of bounds for tangling with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son was killed in 2004.
“Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression,” VFW leader Brian Duffy said.
Democratic President Barack Obama chimed in, too, addressing the Disabled American Veterans in Atlanta. He said of families who have lost family members in the military service: “No one has given more to our freedom and our security than our Gold Star families. ... They represent the very best of our country.”
A growing chorus of GOP lawmakers chastised Trump for sparring with the Khans, who appeared at the Democratic convention on behalf of Hillary Clinton. But like McCain, none revoked his support of the GOP nominee in the White House campaign.
In an emotional appearance at last week’s convention, Khizr Khan criticized Trump for proposing to temporarily freeze the entry of foreign Muslims into the US and accused him of making no sacrifices for his country. The billionaire businessman challenged that assertion and also implied Ghazala Khan’s religion prevented her from speaking. On Monday, he tweeted that “Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over TV doing the same.”
In his first rally after the controversy blew up, Trump spoke at length and took several questions at a town hall rally in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday — never once mentioning the Khans. Nor did he mention them at a Monday night rally in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
But when asked about Khizr Khan on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” Trump responded, “I guess it’s part of my life.”
“His son died 12 years ago,” Trump added. “If I were president, his son wouldn’t have died, because I wouldn’t have been in the war, if I was president back then.”