Donald Trump belittled the parents of a slain Muslim soldier who had denounced Trump during the Democratic National Convention, saying that the soldier’s father had delivered the entire speech because his mother was not “allowed” to speak.
Trump’s comments, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that will air Sunday, drew widespread condemnation. With his implication that the soldier’s mother had not spoken because of female subservience expected in some strains of Islam, his comments also inflamed his hostilities with American Muslims.
Khizr Khan, the soldier’s father, lashed out at Trump in an interview Saturday, saying his wife had not spoken at the convention because it was too painful for her to talk about her son’s death. Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a rival of Trump’s in the Republican primaries, castigated him on Twitter. And Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent, said he “was not a normal presidential candidate.”
“Someone who attacks everybody has something missing,” she told a crowd at a campaign stop in Youngstown, Ohio. “I don’t know what it is. I’m not going to get into that.”
Khan’s speech was effectively the Democratic response to comments Trump has made implying many American Muslims have terrorist sympathies or stay silent when they know ones who do.
At the convention, Khan spoke about how his 27-year-old son, Humayun Khan, an Army captain, had died in a car bombing in 2004 in Iraq as he tried to save other troops. He criticized Trump, saying he “consistently smears the character of Muslims,” and asked whether Trump had ever read the Constitution. Khan’s wife, Ghazala, stood silently by his side.
Trump told Stephanopoulos that Khizr Khan seemed like a “nice guy.” But, he added, “If you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.”
Trump also told Maureen Dowd of The Times on Friday night, “I’d like to hear his wife say something.”
In a statement late Saturday, Trump called Humayun Khan a “hero” and reiterated his belief that the United States should bar Muslims from entering the country.
“While I feel deeply for the loss of his son,” he added, “Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things.”
Ghazala Khan did speak Friday to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, saying she “cannot even come in the room where his pictures are.”
On Sunday morning, Trump posted a series of tweets regarding Khan and his family.
Captain Khan, killed 12 years ago, was a hero, but this is about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR and the weakness of our "leaders" to eradicate it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2016
I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2016