Over the weekend, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his campaign surrogates gave several interviews in which they continued to attack the family of fallen Iraq War veteran Humayun Khan and defend Trump’s comments suggesting that Ghazala Khan wasn’t permitted to speak because she’s Muslim.
On Monday, the non-profit group VoteVets.org released an open letter written by the families of 17 service-members who were killed while on active duty, calling Trump’s comments about the Khan family “repugnant…offensive, and frankly anti-American.”
Khzir Khan, who gave an emotional speech on the final day of the Democratic National Convention, called out Trump for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and stated that Trump knows nothing of sacrifice, a characterization that Trump repeatedly denied by suggesting that his financial success and hard work constitutes sacrifice.
When you say your job building buildings is akin to our sacrifice, you are attacking our sacrifice.
In their letter, other Gold Star family members rejected Trump’s definition of sacrifice.
“Ours is a sacrifice you will never know. Ours is a sacrifice we would never want you to know,” the letter states. “When you say your job building buildings is akin to our sacrifice, you are attacking our sacrifice.”
Trump’s comments have drawn swift repudiations from every shade of the political spectrum. Former Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) offered his support for Khan over the weekend, as did Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), a former marine. “Having served in Iraq, I’m deeply offended when Donald Trump fails to honor the sacrifices of all our brave soldiers who were lost in that war,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trump’s supporters, including Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, continued their contortion act of trying to distance themselves from Trump’s extreme rhetoric while still failing to rescind their endorsements of him.
For Trump, his comments are just the latest provocation of military veterans and their families. Last year, he responded to criticism from John McCain by suggesting that the Republican senator wasn’t a war hero because he had been shot down, detained, and tortured during the Vietnam War. “I like people who weren’t captured,” he said at the time, earning near universal condemnation. Then as now, Trump refused to apologize.