Bud Kennedy

Donald Trump bashed Muslims, ignored Army family’s sacrifice

Khizr Khan, father of fallen US Army Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan holds up a copy of the Constitution of the United States as his wife listens during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Khizr Khan, father of fallen US Army Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan holds up a copy of the Constitution of the United States as his wife listens during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. AP

In 2004, Ghazala and Khizr Khan gave their middle son for America.

Instead of thanking them for their American Muslim son’s life-saving sacrifice and heroic Army service in Iraq, Donald J. Trump has chosen to bash them.

Of all Trump’s out-of-bounds comments in his 14-month-long insult binge, the most surprising might be his mocking a Gold Star family whose son stepped in front of a car bomb before it could reach his unit’s camp.

Khizr Khan told the Democratic National Convention that Trump has “sacrificed nothing and no one” and asked, “Donald Trump … have you even read the U.S. Constitution?”

Trump’s response the next day was snide.

“I’d like to hear his wife say something,” Trump told a columnist from The New York Times, as if he was disgusted at the very idea of an American Muslim couple from Pakistan via the United Arab Emirates as a Gold Star family.

Ghazala Khan stood alongside during the speech. Later, she told MSNBC she couldn’t speak without crying as U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan’s photo flashed: “I couldn’t take it.”

ABC asked Trump about the Khans again for an interview Sunday on This Week With George Stephanopoulos.

“She was standing there — she had nothing to say,” Trump said about a mother who lost a son.

“She probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

Trump also questioned whether Khizr Khan, 65, a lawyer, really wrote the 11-paragraph speech he delivered directly and powerfully into the camera.

(At one point, Khan waved a pocket Constitution at an imaginary Trump: “I will gladly lend you my copy!”)

In the ABC interview, Trump asked: “Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s scriptwriters write it?”

Khan had told the San Francisco Chronicle beforehand he was writing his speech and memorizing it.

Trump was of draft age during the Vietnam War but had a 1968 medical deferment along with a birthday that never came up in the draft lottery.

Yet he said he has “made a lot of sacrifices” for America.

“I work very, very hard,” he told ABC: “I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs … I think they’re sacrifices.”

After Khan pleaded to House Speaker Paul Ryan to denounce Trump, Ryan’s office responded Saturday.

“The speaker has made clear many times that he rejects this idea [Muslim-bashing], and himself has talked about how Muslim Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice,” a spokeswoman wrote to CBS News.

At least two of the Army soldiers from Fort Worth killed in Iraq or Afghanistan were American Muslims. The Star-Telegram has written about how one Albanian immigrant family moved closer to a local cemetery to visit their son’s grave.

I thought of those families.

The Khans’ convention role traces to last winter, when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton saw an online profile of the family and called Humayun Khan a hero and “the best of America.”

I can only imagine what Trump would call him.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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