On Sunday, Donald Trump lashed out at the father of a fallen Muslim American soldier over remarks that the Republican presidential nominee has “sacrificed nothing” for the country, saying he created thousands of jobs and questioned whether his wife was even “allowed” to speak.
Trump’s comments to a news channel about the parents of Army Capt. Humayun Khan drew swift criticism including from his own party and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
“Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s script writers write it?” Trump said in an interview with ABC News. “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard.”
Humayun’s father Khizr Khan, in a moving tribute to his son at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia while posthumously receiving a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after he was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004, stunned a national audience with a speech directly confronting Trump, who has called for a ban on Muslims entering the US.
He asked the 70-year-old real estate tycoon to “go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America”. “You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Trump argued he “made a lot of sacrifices” and worked “very, very hard”.
“I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures,” he said. “Sure those are sacrifices.”
“I think my popularity with the vets is through the roof,” he claimed.
Responding to a question, Trump alleged that Khan’s wife Ghazala, who was standing beside him wearing a headscarf during the speech, was not allowed to speak.
“His wife, if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, may be she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me, but plenty of people have written that. She was extremely quiet and it looked like she had nothing to say,” he said.
Trump’s comments drew sharp reaction nationwide, both for attacking a mourning mother and because many considered them racist and anti-Muslim.
“This is a time for all Americans to stand with the Khans, and with all the families whose children have died in service to our country. And this is a time to honour the sacrifice of Captain Khan and all the fallen. Captain Khan and his family represent the best of America, and we salute them,” Clinton said in a statement.
Ghazala Khan said that she was too emotional to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week.
She said she is still overwhelmed by her grief and cannot even look at photos of her son without crying.
“Please. I am very upset when I heard when he said that I didn’t say anything. I was in pain. If you were in pain, you fight or you don’t say anything. I’m not a fighter, I can’t fight. So the best thing I do was quiet,” she said.
In a late night statement, Trump called Humayun “a hero”.