Sen. John McCain slammed Donald Trump Monday morning for feuding with the parents of a fallen Muslim soldier, offering perhaps his sternest rebuke yet of a candidate with whom he has clashed throughout the campaign process.
“In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents. He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service,” McCain said in a statement released by his office Monday. “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.”
Khizr and Ghazala Khan became the unexpected stars of the Democratic National Convention’s final day last week, delivering an emotional speech honoring their late son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, and attacking Trump’s often-divisive rhetoric. Pulling a small pocket version of the Constitution from his jacket, Khizr Khan accused the Manhattan billionaire of having never read the document and offered to lend Trump his own copy.
Trump responded over the weekend that the family had “no right” to attack him from the convention stage in Philadelphia and took to Twitter Monday morning to counterprogram the Khans multiple morning TV news interviews.
In his statement, McCain said he was “morally bound to speak only to the things that command my allegiance,” specifically naming the Republican Party and the United States of America. He said he would not refrain from speaking up “simply because it may benefit others with whom I disagree,” presumably a reference to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
McCain himself was an early target of Trump’s, who said the longtime Arizona senator should not be considered a hero even though he was held as a prisoner of war for more than five years and tortured after his aircraft was shot down during the Vietnam War. Of the former Navy pilot and 2008 GOP presidential nominee, Trump said “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Khizr Khan: Trump’s statements ‘proof of his ignorance and arrogance’
In an interview on Monday morning with CNN, Khizr Khan spoke out against Donald Trump.
The senator, who has offered a tepid endorsement of Trump but has otherwise steered clear of discussing presidential politics, seemed to create for himself a loophole through which he could escape that endorsement at a later date. Amid a call for Trump to change the tone of his rhetoric, McCain said that “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.”
“Lastly, I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America,” McCain said in closing his statement. “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.”