Wed | Jul 18, 2018

GOP senators criticise Trump over Muslim soldier

Published:Tuesday | August 2, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Donald Trump


Fellow Republicans are joining the rising chorus of criticism of Donald Trump for his disparagement of the bereaved parents of US Army Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim who was awarded a Bronze Star after he was killed in 2004 in Iraq.

The roll of GOP senators publicly taking Trump to task reached at least five on Monday, including John McCain of Arizona, who said in a statement that the fact that Trump won his party's nomination does not give him "unfettered licence to defame those who are the best among us".

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said the Khans "deserve our gratitude and honour; anything else is inappropriate".




The other three senators, all running for re-election and distancing themselves from Trump's controversial statements, are Roy Blunt of Missouri, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Rob Portman of Ohio. Republican Mac Thornberry of Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he was dismayed by criticism of the parents, and both Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have issued statements praising Khan.

Pushing back, Trump complained yesterday that he had been "viciously attacked" by Khan's father at the Democratic National Convention and in the days that have followed.

Trump broke a political and societal taboo over the weekend when he criticised Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Khizr Khan did strongly criticise Trump during the convention and after, and his wife has joined in since then. Trump stoked further outrage by implying Ghazala Khan did not speak while standing alongside her husband at the convention because she is a Muslim woman.

Trump tweeted Monday that "Mr Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over TV doing the same". He said the focus should be on "radical Islamic terrorism," not the parents.

Khizr Khan told CNN on Monday that "we want to be out of this controversy. That is not our style," even as the couple kept up a round of TV appearances. Said his wife: "My religion or my family or my culture never stopped me from saying what I want to say. I have all the rights as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter."

At last week's convention, Khizr Khan criticised Trump for proposing to freeze the entry of foreign Muslims into the US and accused him of making no sacrifices for his country.