Father of Slain Army Captain Blasts Trump for Criticizing Wife: ‘Shame on Him’

Critics from both parties on Saturday questioned whether Trump had the empathy and understanding to be president

The father of a Muslim-American army captain killed in Iraq blasted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for accusing him of not allowing his wife to speak during his emotional address at the Democratic National Convention, according to NBC News

"Running for president is not an entitlement to disrespect [a] Gold Star family and Gold Star mother, not realizing her pain," Khizr Khan said during an interview on ABC News Saturday. 

"Shame on him! Shame on his family!" Khan said. "He is not worthy of our comments. He has no decency. He is void of decency. He has a dark heart." 

Trump had criticized the bereaved Khan, who in his convention speech Thursday challenged the real estate mogul by asking if he'd ever read the Constitution and offering to lend him a copy.

The lawyer said Trump has "sacrificed nothing and no one" for his country. Trump disputed that Saturday, saying he'd given up a lot for his businesses.

"I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures," he said, in an interview with ABC's "This Week." 

He added: "Sure those are sacrifices."

Trump's comments sparked immediate outrage on social media, including from Republican strategists, who criticized Trump both for attacking a mourning mother and because many considered them racist and anti-Muslim.

Critics from both parties on Saturday questioned whether Trump had the empathy and understanding to be president, particularly after he questioned why mourning mother Ghazala Khan stayed silent during her husband's Thursday night address.

"It just demonstrates again kind of a temperamental unfitness. If you don't have any more sense of empathy than that, then I'm not sure you can learn it," Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine said after a campaign event in Pittsburgh.

Former President Bill Clinton, who joined his wife and Kaine at the event, agreed: "I cannot conceive how you can say that about a Gold Star mother."

John Kasich, the Ohio governor who sought the GOP presidential nomination, said on Twitter, "There's only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect. Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family."

The Trump campaign also released a statement Saturday, calling Khan's son, Capt. Humayun Khan, "a hero to our country."

"While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution," Trump said in the statement.

Khan gave a moving tribute to their son, who posthumously received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after he was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004. 

In the interview, Trump also reiterated his criticism of Khan's wife, Ghazala, who stood silently on stage, wearing a headscarf. "If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me."

In an earlier response to Khan's speech, Trump told Maureen Dowd of The New York Times: "I’d like to hear his wife say something."

Ghazala Khan has said she didn't speak because she's still overwhelmed by her grief and can't even look at photos of her son without crying. Trump's comments sparked immediate outrage on social media, both for attacking a mourning mother and because many considered them racist and anti-Muslim. 

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” on Friday, Khan said being on the DNC stage was difficult and he couldn’t have done it without having his wife at his side, NBC News reported. 

She told O’Donnell about her reaction when her son first told her he was heading to Iraq: "Don't become [a] hero for me. Just be my son. Come back as a son," she told him. "He came back as a hero." 

Ghazala Khan said the last time she spoke to her son was on Mother's Day 2004, just months before he was killed.

During the interview, her husband made a plea to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, asking them to "repudiate" Trump.

"You are about to sink the ship of the patriot Republicans," Khizr Khan warned. 

"There is so much at stake, and I appeal to both of these leaders: this is the time. There comes a time in the history of a nation where an ethical, moral stand has to be taken regardless of the political costs," he continued. "The only reason they're not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundation, is just because of political consequences." 

Ryan didn't address Khan's comments directly, but tweeted his support of American troops "at home & abroad" Saturday.

"We owe everything to those who serve our country at home & abroad. We also owe them the tools they need to tackle new threats. #BetterWay."

In a statement, Hillary Clinton said she was "very moved" by Ghazala Khan's appearance. 

"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," she said. "Captain Khan and his family represent the best of America and we salute them." 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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