Categorized | American Politics

McCain denounces Trump’s comments on family of Muslim soldier

Posted on 04 August 2016 by admin

In a remarkable and lengthy rebuke of his party’s presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain sharply criticized Donald Trump’s comments about the family of a fallen Muslim Army captain, providing an opening for other vulnerable Republican senators to do the same, even though they all stopped short of rescinding their endorsements of him.

 “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 war hero whose service and capture in Vietnam were also once derided by Trump.

Within an hour, other embattled Republican senators, who like McCain are trying to stand between the windy forces of Trump and those he offends, offered their own condemnations.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., whose husband is a veteran of the Iraq war and who is fighting to win a second term, said Monday that she was “appalled” by Trump’s comments. A spokeswoman for Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, also weighed in, as did Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. They denounced Trump’s words but did not reverse their endorsements.

“I remember how much I worried about my son Matt during his years of active duty,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. “The Khans have made the greatest possible sacrifice for our country; they deserve to be heard and respected.”

But Trump on Monday morning continued to criticize Khizr Khan, whose son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004. Trump complained that Khizr Khan had become a ubiquitous presence in the media since his Thursday address at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in which he excoriated the Republican presidential nominee.

“Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over TV doing the same,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Nice!”

In a second post Trump shifted course and said the campaign should be focused on terrorism. “This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S.,” he wrote. “Get smart!”

Even as pressure increased from establishment Republicans who have been calling for repudiation of Trump, neither House Speaker Paul D. Ryan nor Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has pulled his support for Trump’s candidacy. They offered statements Sunday in support of the Khan family, but did not mention Trump by name.

For congressional Republicans, Trump’s inflammatory remarks are a vexing challenge. On one hand, they want to distance themselves just enough to try to grab support from voters of both parties who do not intend to vote for Trump but may split their tickets. But they do not want to outright flip on their prior endorsements of Trump because they need his supporters’ votes to win, too.

Many experts agree. “According to polling thus far, voters don’t automatically couple Donald Trump with Republican candidates or hold other Republicans responsible for Donald Trump’s sins,” said Nathan L. Gonzales, editor of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter.

McCain is the embodiment of the internal conflict Republican candidates face. Reverence for the military has been at the core of McCain’s career — he was his party’s nominee for president in 2008 and serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee — and he has a close allegiance to families of those killed in conflict.

“I wear a bracelet bearing the name of a fallen hero, Matthew Stanley, which his mother, Lynn, gave me in 2007 at a town-hall meeting in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire,” McCain wrote. “His memory and the memory of our great leaders deserve better from me.”

“Make no mistake: I do not valorize our military out of some unfamiliar instinct,” he wrote. “I grew up in a military family, and have my own record of service, and have stayed closely engaged with our armed forces throughout my public career. In the American system, the military has value only inasmuch as it protects and defends the liberties of the people.”

He added: “I claim no moral superiority over Donald Trump. I have a long and well-known public and private record for which I will have to answer at the Final Judgment, and I repose my hope in the promise of mercy and the moderation of age. I challenge the nominee to set the example for what our country can and should represent.”

McCain’s family has also been critical of Trump. His daughter, Meghan McCain, said on Twitter Saturday: “I would ask what kind of barbarian would attack the parents of a fallen soldier, but oh yeah it’s the same person who attacks POW’s.”

Despite the intensifying criticism from Republican Party leaders, Trump on Monday showed no sign of relenting in his clash with the Khan family. He has not apologized for his suggestion that Ghazala Khan might have been forbidden to speak at the Democratic convention, and he has not yet acknowledged the mounting criticism from respected Republicans like McCain.

Leave a Reply

Advertise Here
Advertise Here