Speaking to a gym full of Nebraskans at a Clinton campaign event in Omaha on Aug. 1, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett had question for Donald Trump and a history lesson for the crowd.
“This goes back to before most of you were born,” he said, describing what came to mind when he heard that Trump had attacked the family of a Muslim US soldier who was killed in Iraq.
What came to mind, the 85-year-old Buffett said, was the McCarthy hearings of 1954, when then-senator Joe McCarthy’s accusations of communist sympathizing within the US Army were dealt with by a US senate subcommittee on investigations. One of the most enduring moments of the hearing, alluded to many times over in the wake of Trump’s comments, came courtesy of Joseph Welch, a former Army chief counsel who was moved to directly confront McCarthy about his witch hunt.
As Buffett explained it, “Joe Welch had a young assistant of his maligned by senator McCarthy, and McCarthy went on and on … and finally Joe Welch couldn’t take it anymore and he said, and I’ll quote him, ‘Have you no sense of decency, sir?’”
The crowd began cheering Buffett on before he even got to the punchline.
“And I ask Donald Trump, have you no sense of decency, sir?”
Buffett specifically called out recent comments made by the Republican nominee for president in an interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos—in which Trump compared his own business record to the sacrifices made by men and women volunteering in the US armed forces. “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard,” he said, citing his employment of “thousands and thousands of people.”
In the same interview, Trump ridiculed Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American US army captain who was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004. The Khans have recently spoken out against nominee’s anti-Muslim rhetoric. “Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s scriptwriters write it?” Trump said.
“The young son of Mr. and Mrs. Khan died a dozen or so years ago,” Buffett said in Omaha. “In that dozen or so years, we’ve employed a lot of people. You know, I’ve had fun doing it, we’ve made money just like Donald Trump has made money. I have made no sacrifice.”
“No member of the Buffet family has gone to Iraq or Afghanistan. No member of the Trump family has gone to Iraq or Afghanistan,” he added. “How in the world can you stand up to a couple of parents who’ve lost a son, and talk about sacrificing because you were building a bunch of buildings?”