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Washington - Trump Campaign Asks Capitol Hill For Backing In Khan Controversy

Published on: August 1, 2016 05:02 PM
By: Reuters
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Republican U.S. Presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to the media before a campaign event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Eric ThayerRepublican U.S. Presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to the media before a campaign event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Washington - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign appealed to Capitol Hill for support on Monday as his attacks on the Muslim parents of a decorated U.S. soldier killed in Iraq drew sharp rebukes from fellow party members.

Trump’s criticism of Khizr Khan and Ghazala Khan, who took the stage at last week’s Democratic convention, sparked a growing wave of concern and dismay from Republican lawmakers responding to the latest Trump outburst to blindside his party colleagues.

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Republican Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war and the most prominent veteran in Congress, along with the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, joined the chorus of condemnation, reflecting the highly regarded place the military and its veterans hold with many in the United States.

Trump’s dispute with the Khans has dominated the White House campaign in recent days and underlined the uneasy alliance between many leading Republicans and the party’s freewheeling, unorthodox nominee for the Nov. 8 election.

Rob Wasinger, a onetime congressional candidate who has been working for the Trump camp on congressional outreach, sent an email to senior Senate aides saying, “We want to get several member statements out today on this, and would really appreciate your help.”

A similar appeal was made to Republicans in the House of Representatives, according to a senior aide.

Attached to the appeal were talking points lawmakers could use to try to tamp down the controversy growing since last week’s appearance at the Democratic convention by the Khans, the parents of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed by a bomb in Iraq 12 years ago.

The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment, and Wasinger refused to comment when contacted by telephone.

A senior Senate Republican aide, who asked not to be identified, said Republican senators were pleased with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s statement on Sunday calling Captain Khan “an American hero” and noting “a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values.”

At the same time, the aide said the controversy would probably not cause Republican senators to withdraw their endorsements of Trump.

In his convention speech delivered with his wife at his side, Khizr Khan showcased his son’s military service and criticized Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the United States, holding up a copy of the U.S. Constitution and suggesting Trump read it.

Since then, Trump has complained he was “viciously” attacked by the couple and suggested Ghazala Khan might not have been “allowed” to speak, implying her silence reflected restrictions placed on women by some traditional Muslims.

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate and current chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued a lengthy statement sharply criticizing Trump’s comments.

“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,” said McCain, a prisoner of war for five years during the Vietnam War.

His counterpart on the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, echoed McCain, saying in a statement that he was “dismayed at the attacks Khizr and Ghazala Khan have endured after they spoke about their son’s service and sacrifice.”

The head of the 1.7 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars also said Trump’s attack on the Khans went too far. Trump and Clinton spoke to the group’s national convention last week.

‘NO TOLERANCE’

“Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression,” said Brian Duffy, the national commander of the country’s oldest and largest war veterans organization, referring to families who have lost relatives in wars.

In the talking points sent to lawmakers, the Trump campaign said he had been asked about the Khans’ comments during the convention and wished them well. The talking points also noted that Trump “wants to end radical Islamic terror, so that our soldiers like Mr. Khan’s son will be safe.”

The list also says Trump had not directly compared his sacrifices to the Khans. Trump said over the weekend he had also made sacrifices in his life by working hard, creating jobs and being successful.

The Khans bristled at that suggestion and, in numerous television appearances over the weekend, said Trump was ignorant about Islam and about their family’s sacrifice.

Trump’s off-the-cuff insults and controversial proposals such as the Muslim ban and a plan to keep illegal immigrants out by building a wall along the Mexican border, have made many in the party establishment reluctant backers of his White House bid.

In his statement, McCain recalled how Humayun Khan died, saying that when a suicide bomber aimed his vehicle toward a building housing hundreds of U.S. soldiers, the captain told his subordinates to stay away, then ran toward it.

McCain thanked the Khans for coming to America, saying “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.”

In a remarks to television networks on Monday, Khizr Khan said Trump lacked the empathy to be a leader and chided him for throwing the first salvo in their exchange.

Asked on CNN what message he could give Trump, the father said he wanted to maintain his family’s dignity and convey to Trump “that a good leader has one trait ... empathy.”

“It is basic character, realizing, feeling the pains, the difficulties of the people that you wish to lead,” Khan said. “And that is missing.”

Trump has tried to shift focus from the Khans.

“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 said Monday on Twitter.

Ghazala Khan wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post on Sunday saying that she had remained silent during her husband’s remarks to cope with making her grief public during the convention.

On Sunday, Democratic rival Hillary Clinton said Trump had scapegoated the parents. In addition to Senate Majority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan issued a statement supporting the family.

Trump drew similar opprobrium a year ago when he said McCain, who as a naval aviator was shot down and taken prisoner during the Vietnam War, was not a hero because he had been captured.

In an open letter, 23 Gold Star families said Trump cheapened their sacrifice and called for an apology.

“This goes beyond politics. It is about a sense of decency,” it said. “That kind decency you mock as ‘political correctness.’”



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Read Comments (14)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 01, 2016 at 05:08 PM amerikaner Says:

why is everyone talking only about the "Muslim" soldier that was killed in action? what about the FOUR AMERICANS MURDERED UNDER HILLARY"S AND OBAMA"S "WRONG" DECISIONS NOT TO PROTECT THEM?

Are they "chopped liver"??

2

 Aug 01, 2016 at 05:10 PM Realistic Says:

I can tell two Republican politicians that will definitely defend him
louie gohmert and Jeff Sessions.

Hillary said in her convention speech that Trump is a person who you can bait with a tweet. They set up a bait at the convention, they had no idea how well it would work for them.

The republicans had 4 grieving mothers in their 1'st night, does anyone remember it. The democrats had only 1, and it's in the news for 5 days. Boy did Donald walk on a trap!!!!

3

 Aug 01, 2016 at 05:24 PM lipa21 Says:

who would you vote for greatest LIAR in 2016?
HILLARY
TRUMP
KHAN
BENGHAZI MOMS
OBAMA

I think #1 & #5 are tied in that spot............................

4

 Aug 01, 2016 at 05:33 PM So what's new... Says:

Khan (the father) was OBVIOUSLY 'playing democrat dirty politics' when he took a constitution and asked if DT read it. (This had nothing to do with his son sacrificing his life for others.) This charade was done to deflect what we all know, that the democrat party is at odds with the constitution ... This charade was OBVIOUSLY prepared by the DNC/Crooked Hillary.. with the closed eyes, stupity, if not the assistance of the media. So Khan was/is 'fair game'... Now we are finding out that Khan is a member of a pro-Muslim (anti-American) Sharia law group... So there you go - just another stunt by the democrats! (Obvious to some, denial by others!)

5

 Aug 01, 2016 at 07:35 PM yaakov doe Says:

Perhaps he can turn to David Duke for moral support.

6

 Aug 01, 2016 at 07:38 PM 54321 Says:

Its as clear as day that this guy is a muslim tool with the islam agenda. Hes no different to clean as the driven snow Huma Abadein, Hillarys right hand person, who has muslim brotherhood ties.

7

 Aug 01, 2016 at 07:39 PM schmaltzy Says:

While Trump deserves the criticism he is getting, why is there not one Democrat that criticizes Hillary for her multiple ethical ,financial integrity and anti women scandals? Why?

8

 Aug 01, 2016 at 08:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Trump said it best: "I could shoot and kill someone on Fifth Avenue and they STILL will vote for me."

9

 Aug 01, 2016 at 09:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
amerikaner Says:

why is everyone talking only about the "Muslim" soldier that was killed in action? what about the FOUR AMERICANS MURDERED UNDER HILLARY"S AND OBAMA"S "WRONG" DECISIONS NOT TO PROTECT THEM?

Are they "chopped liver"??

It was the Republican Congress who denied the funding for more security at our embassies etc

10

 Aug 01, 2016 at 10:05 PM puppydogs Says:

What is wrong with this world? Why is this a story? Why is Trump taking the blame for this? What about Clinton and Benghazi?? The liberal media is terrible, they will do anything to help Hillary win

11

 Aug 02, 2016 at 02:00 AM Mark Levin Says:

These people are politically connected with Clinton. It's all coming out now. They couldn't hide it well enough.


#ClintonCash strikes again!

12

 Aug 02, 2016 at 03:16 AM Proud_To_Be_American Says:

Reply to #10  
puppydogs Says:

What is wrong with this world? Why is this a story? Why is Trump taking the blame for this? What about Clinton and Benghazi?? The liberal media is terrible, they will do anything to help Hillary win

Regarding the Gold Star family:
The story is that the VFW called TRump's attacks on the Khans "out-of-bounds." Not a liberal group in any way.

The story is TRump trying to equate his life of luxury with those who have been wounded or died protecting our freedom is an insult to every single service person and their families. Donald TRump is a disgrace, and his “sacrifice” is a joke compared to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country.

The story is that the GOP leadership and many elected politicians (including vets) are furious about their candidates stance.

The story is that none of the above have not retracted their endorsement for TRump.

The media has given TRump 2$Billion of free coverage. The media is in TRumps pocket.

Regarding Benghazi (r):
After eight Congressional inquiries, including where the State Department has participated at least in 15 hearings, 64 briefings, 72 interviews, and provided 100,000 pages of documents, even the very partisan House Benghazi Committee report doesn't blame Clinton for the attacks.

13

 Aug 02, 2016 at 08:00 AM CommonSense Says:

Reply to #6  
54321 Says:

Its as clear as day that this guy is a muslim tool with the islam agenda. Hes no different to clean as the driven snow Huma Abadein, Hillarys right hand person, who has muslim brotherhood ties.

You're just as delusional as the commenters of other sites that see Jewish conspiracies and evidence of Zionist Occupied Government wherever they look.

14

 Aug 02, 2016 at 09:32 AM Raphael_Kaufman Says:

Notwithstanding other legitimate political issues, Trump's personal attack on a Gold Star family was not only unconscionable on moral grounds, it was stupid politics. if Trump has any hope of winning the election, he has to stay on message and not go off on dumb tangents every time he thinks he's being attacked. He should have taken a lesson from "W". When he was attacked in similar fashion by Cindy Sheehan, he just said "sorry for your loss" and moved on. If Trump is so insecure that he feels he has to respond any imagined slight, the Dems are right. He's to unstable to be President

15

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