WASHINGTON — Prominent Republicans are speaking out Monday against their own presidential candidate after he chose to scuffle with the grieving parents of a decorated Army veteran killed in Iraq.
Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the bereaved parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, a Muslim who was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after he was killed in 2004, have refused to back down from their criticism of Trump even as he has complained of being “viciously attacked.”
Republicans, from Trump’s staunch supporters to those who have previously been reluctant to engage with Trump, have spoken out overwhelmingly in support of the Khans. None, however, has withdrawn an endorsement of Trump.
Here are some of their comments:
“I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statements. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers or candidates… 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.” — Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., a prisoner of war in Vietnam who Trump has derided for being captured.
“I am dismayed at the attacks Khizr and Ghazala Khan have endured after they spoke about their son’s service and sacrifice. There is never enough honor we can show to the families of those whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Service to our country is above politics.” — House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry of Texas.
“I am appalled that Donald Trump would disparage (the Khans) and that he had the gall to compare his own sacrifices to those of a Gold Star family.” — Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.
“There used to be some things that were sacred in American politics – that you don’t do – like criticizing the parents of a fallen soldier even if they criticize you. If you’re going to be leader of the free world, you have to be able to accept criticism. Mr. Trump can’t.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
“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.” — Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri.
“First of all, I just think that anyone that has died in the service of our country is a hero. And I think that (Trump’s approach) was a mistake. I believe the focus needs to be on the differences that he has with Hillary Clinton in terms of policies.”– Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
“Capt. Khan was killed-in-action while honorably serving his nation, and as a country, we are forever indebted to him and his family for his dedication to duty. Heading into November, our party must have a laser focus on the issues that will defeat Hillary Clinton. Period.” — Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
“Capt. Humayun Khan, and all the Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.” — Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
“The Khan family, like all Americans who lose loved ones in the defense of our country, deserve our gratitude and honor. Anything else is inappropriate.” — Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who has not endorsed Trump.
Sen. Rob Portman, does not agree with Donald Trump’s remarks and believes that Captain Khan was an American hero who gave his life for his country. As he has said previously many times, Rob does not agree with the idea of banning people from entering the country based on their religion.” — Michawn Rich, spokesperson for the Ohio senator.
“Having served in Iraq, I’m deeply offended when Donald Trump fails to honor the sacrifices of all of our brave soldiers who were lost in that war.” — Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado.
The Khans responded to Trump’s comments in an interview with Judy Woodruff for tonight’s PBS NewsHour. Watch the interview here.