Republican nominee Donald Trump has once again become mired in scandal after his attacks on the Khan family, a Gold Star Family whose son died in Iraq and who spoke at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) about Trump’s islamophobia. Khizr Khan and his wife Ghazala appeared onstage, and Khizr spoke about the unconstitutionality of Trump’s proposed Muslim ban. He also highlighted the ultimate sacrifice his son Humayun made on behalf of his country when he died in service in the Iraq War.
Khizr accused Trump of not respecting the patriotism of American Muslims, especially naturalized immigrants like the Khans, and not understand the religious freedoms granted by the Constitution. Trump responded with a hateful attack on the Khans’ religion, accusing Ghazala of not being allowed to speak and suggesting that this was because she and her husband were Muslims.
Furthermore, Trump responded to Khizr’s claim that “[Trump has] sacrificed nothing and no one,” by saying in an interview, “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs.”
Ghazala has responded with a heartbreaking op-ed explaining that she was too grief stricken to speak onstage in front of thousands at the DNC. She wrote,
“Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything. That is not true. My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not. My religion teaches me that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes. Husband and wife are part of each other.”
Many politicians across the entire political spectrum have been attacking Trump’s claim that he can understand Humayun’s sacrifice because he has “worked very very hard” in the business world.
Gold Star Families have published a powerful open letter via VoteVets.org with seventeen signatories. An excerpt reads:
Your recent comments regarding the Khan family were repugnant, and personally offensive to us. When you question a mother’s pain, by implying that her religion, not her grief, kept her from addressing an arena of people, you are attacking us. When you say your job building buildings is akin to our sacrifice, you are attacking our sacrifice.
You are not just attacking us, you are cheapening the sacrifice made by those we lost.
You are minimizing the risk our service members make for all of us.
This goes beyond politics. It is about a sense of decency. That kind decency you mock as “political correctness.”
Former Republican candidate Governor Jeb Bush tweeted in response to Trump’s callousness:
This is so incredibly disrespectful of a family that endured the ultimate sacrifice for our country. https://t.co/TQcMuwXTKV
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) July 31, 2016
Former Republican candidate Governor John Kasich also took to Twitter:
There’s only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect. Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) July 31, 2016
Shockingly, and reprehensibly, former Trump adviser Roger Stone has joined his old boss in attacking Khan, accusing him of being a member of the terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood. He published a tweet (which we will not publish in full as it links to a despicable racist conspiracy-theory website) saying, “Mr. Khan (is) more than an aggrieved father of a Muslim son — he’s a Muslim Brotherhood agent helping Hillary.”
2008 Republican nominee Senator John McCain leapt to the Khans’ defense, issuing a statement recalling his own family’s service, including his own, and finishing,
“Lastly, I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation — and he will never be forgotten.”
To all our servicemen and women, veterans, and fallen soldiers, of every race, religion, and background, we thank you for your service and for the extreme sacrifices you make to keep America free and safe. Your service benefits every American, even those who stoop so low as to disrespect you; you deserve nothing but the utmost respect and gratitude. Without you, America would not be the great country that it is today.
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Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.