Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is facing push back from members of his own party for his comments about Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Muslim parents of U.S. veteran Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died while fighting for the U.S. in Iraq.
"In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents," Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said in a statement Aug. 1, reports Politico. "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," McCain added. "I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates."
Last week, the Khans appeared at the Democratic National Convention where Khizr held up a pocket-size U.S. Constitution and urged Trump to read it. Khizr said that Trump had made no sacrifices in comparison to son Humayun.
Trump insisted over the weekend that the couple had "no right" to criticize him, and said that he had made "a lot of sacrifices." He also mocked Ghazala for not speaking during Khizr's speech.
Trump, who did not serve in the U.S. military, has made disparaging comments about McCain, a Vietnam veteran, in the past: "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured."
In his Aug. 1 statement, McCain also said:
[W]hile our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.
Lastly, I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation -- and he will never be forgotten.
Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri also issued a statement on Aug. 1, notes Jake Sherman of Politico:
I remember how much I worried about my son, Matt, during his years of active duty. The Khans have made the greatest possible sacrifice for our country; they deserve to be heard and respected.
My advice to Donald Trump has been and will continue to be to focus on jobs and national security and stop responding to every criticism whether it’s from a grieving family or Hillary Clinton.
Gold Star families of 23 fallen U.S. service members issued an open letter to Trump on Aug. 1 that was published on Vote Vets:
Your recent comments regarding the Khan family were repugnant, and personally offensive to us. When you question a mother's pain, by implying that her religion, not her grief, kept her from addressing an arena of people, you are attacking us. When you say your job building buildings is akin to our sacrifice, you are attacking our sacrifice.
You are not just attacking us, you are cheapening the sacrifice made by those we lost.
You are minimizing the risk our service members make for all of us.
This goes beyond politics. It is about a sense of decency. That kind decency you mock as "political correctness."
We feel we must speak out and demand you apologize to the Khans, to all Gold Star families, and to all Americans for your offensive, and frankly anti-American, comments.