John McCain has joined other members of the Republican Party in condemning Donald Trump over comments the Republican presidential candidate made regarding Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim-American soldier killed in combat.
“In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents,” McCain wrote Monday. “He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers or candidates.”
At the Democratic National Convention, the Khans delivered an impassioned speech where they criticized Trump’s hateful rhetoric toward Muslims and questioned whether the GOP candidate had ever read the U.S. Constitution or sacrificed for anything.
In an interview following Khizr Khan’s speech, Trump criticized the Khans and wondered aloud whether Ghazala Khan was even allowed to speak, invoking a Muslim stereotype. Ghazala Khan penned a poignant Washington Post op-ed Sunday, noting that she was onstage as moral support and could not bring herself to speak. “My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not,” she wrote. “Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?”
On Sunday, after the Khans repeatedly called upon Republicans to renounce Trump’s comments, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement, “Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice. Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice — and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan — should always be honored. Period.” However, Ryan’s comments, like McCain’s, fell short of withdrawing support of Trump.
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence released a statement on Sunday, noting, “Donald Trump and I believe that Captain Humayun Khan is an American hero and his family, like all Gold Star families, should be cherished by every American.”
After Trump’s initial comments, the mogul inflamed the matter further in a series of tweets Sunday. “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,” he tweeted. “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!”
Trump’s diatribe against the Khans continued Monday morning. “Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same – Nice!,” the mogul tweeted. “This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!”
Trump previously clashed with McCain on the campaign trail in 2015 after inferring that the Arizona senator was “not a war hero” because McCain spent nearly six years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said of McCain in July 2015.
As the New York Times points out, other members of McCain’s family have also denounced Trump in the wake of his Khan comments. John’s daughter Meghan McCain tweeted, “I would ask what kind of barbarian would attack the parents of a fallen soldier, but oh yeah it’s the same person who attacks POW’s.” McCain’s granddaughter Caroline went as far as penning a Medium post declaring that, because she’s part of the Never Trump movement, “I’m with her,” meaning a vote for Hillary Clinton.