Donald Trump’s attack over the weekend on the family of a Muslim-American soldier who died on duty in Iraq is landing him in trouble with fellow Republicans. Without naming the Republican presidential candidate, House speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell both issued statements supporting the Khan family. But senator John McCain, himself a decorated veteran, had stronger words of condemnation.
“I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement,” said McCain in a statement Monday morning (Aug. 1), underlining his own military history, and that of generations of men in his family. ”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,” he said in the statement, in which he also thanked the Khan family for immigrating to America. “We’re a better country because of you,” he said.
McCain, who is up for re-election in his home state of Arizona, has agreed to support Donald Trump in May, and while he criticized the candidate for his disparaging comments, he stopped short of saying he would not vote for him.
Trump lashed out in interviews and on Twitter at Khzir Khan, the father of fallen captain Humayun Khan, after Khan’s July 28 speech at the Democratic National Convention, with his wife, Ghazala, by his side. Khan had condemned Trump for his hateful tone against Muslims, and suggested that Trump had not read the US Constitution.
“If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” Trump responded in a July 30 interview with ABC. “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”
Here’s McCain’s full statement:
Khan also responded to Trump’s comments, as did his wife.
“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,” Ghazala Khan wrote on Sunday, July 31, in an op-ed for the Washington Post.