After saying Donald Trump is “unfit” to succeed him as president, Barack Obama asked prominent Republicans “if you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John McCain among other Republican icons have denounced Trump’s reaction to criticism leveled by the Gold Star parents of an American Muslim soldier who was killed while protecting fellow soldiers and civilians in Iraq.
Khizr Khan, with his wife at his side, addressed the Democratic National Convention last Thursday, saying “if it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America.”
Trump’s tweets and remarks in an interview afterwards has consumed the political atmosphere for five days now. On Monday, Trump said U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan would not have been killed 12 years ago if he were president then because he wouldn’t have gone to war with Iraq back then.
When asked whether anything useful will come out of this feud with Trump, Khan told VOA “It really, really has come out that a significant larger number of Republicans are asking him to tone down, change those derogatory remarks about minorities, not only just Muslims but other minorities.”
The political fallout from all this is still being calculated.
Trump vs. the Khans
Rich Lowry – National Review
His first swipe was at Khan’s wife, Ghazala, for standing silently at her husband’s side during the speech (perhaps, Trump implied, she was forbidden to speak as a woman?). In subsequently trying to tamp down the controversy, Trump stoked it further by saying Khizr Khan had “no right” to criticize him as he had and complaining about his viciousness.
The Trump response predictably fueled an all-out media blitz by the Khans. It validated one of the main lines of criticism of Trump at the DNC — that he is so thin-skinned, he can’t be entrusted with the awesome powers of the presidency. And his religiously fraught slap at Khan’s wife and his rhetorical manhandling of a family who had sacrificed so much for the country reinforced the sense that he refuses to honor basic political norms.
WATCH: VOA Interview with Khizr and Ghalaza Khan (conducted August 1, 2016)
Trump on Offense
William McGurn – The Wall Street Journal
For Donald Trump’s critics, it’s not just that they disagree with the man and his policies. It’s more that they find him offensive.
There’s a reason for this: Mr. Trump is a man who is perpetually on offense….
The truth is that Mr. Trump’s offense is in good part a creature of the campaigns Democrats have run against Republicans for decades. Sooner or later it was inevitable that voters, tired of both political correctness and playing defense, would opt for a Republican nominee who would give as ugly as he got.
What Donald Trump’s Feud with the Khans Reveals About the GOP
Ryan Cooper – The Week
Republican leaders distanced themselves from Trump’s comments to varying degrees, of course. Trump’s running mate Mike Pence praised Humayun Khan while reiterating support for a ban on Muslim immigration. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell denounced the comments while omitting where they had come from. John McCain and Kelly Ayotte— both in tricky re-election races — denounced Trump personally.
But none rescinded their endorsement. The reason is obvious: Many Republican voters are fine with bigotry. They support Trump’s big wall to keep out Latinos. They support his Muslim ban. Ninety percent of Republicans want Trump to win. He is now the party’s center of gravity.
Could Trump Be the ‘Man’s Man’ America Wants?
David Frum – The Atlantic
Trump supporters represent a post-religious Right—arguably an anti-religious Right. You’re lumping together angry millennial men with alienated blue-collar workers, and that’s not quite right. Yes, they both dislike political correctness, but the millennials dislike it because it’s quasi-religious (again, see above), anti-scientific, and just another form of moral posturing.
“When Trump says ‘I’ll fight for you; I’ll win for you,’ his millennial supporters don’t just hear that as directed at them if they’re blue-collar whites. They also hear it as directed at them if they’re gay, or if they watch porn, or have premarital sex. They also hear it as directed at them if they’re young, out of work, and crippled by student debt. It’s the first time a Republican has made them feel like he isn’t coming to grab their condoms and yell at them to go to their room.
Trump: Unsafe at Most Speeds
Noemie Emery – Washington Examiner
All the times previous, Republicans who had endorsed him…tried to straddle the divide between common sense, common morality and what they conceived of as duty to party by trying to say that they still endorsed him….He was a racist, but they still endorsed him. He was a fool, but they still endorsed him. He was an ignoramus, but they still endorsed him. Now he’s not only those things but is justly described as a monster of callousness, as an idiot so obtuse that he conflates getting rich with making a sacrifice, and perhaps worst of all, too dumb to realize what ought to have gone without without saying, that ATTACKING THE GOLD STAR PARENTS OF A DEAD SOLDIER-HERO IS STUPIDEST THING YOU CAN DO. Making it worse is the fact that just as l’affaire Khan reached hurricane status, Trump affirmed and denied that he was a friend and a fan boy of Putin, that he had no interest at all in the future of NATO, and no knowledge of the fact that the Soviet Union was now in Ukraine at all.
The Risk of Bloody Shirt Politics: Khizr Khan, Ghazala Khan, Patricia Smith, Cindy Sheehan and Our Politics
Erroll Louis – New York Daily News
Parents have every right to grieve, and to let that grief fuel political action. And the party mandarins who dictate election strategy, along with their opportunistic army of high-paid media consultants, are well within their rights to stage searing emotional attacks in an effort to win….
But in politics, as in personal life, it’s best to balance the right of free speech with the virtue of self-restraint. And it’s worth noting that alongside the excesses of the conventions were instances of admirable silence….
So let us wonder, and worry, about the parents whose grief is being magnified and manipulated to score political points. We should urge them to avoid soiling the memory and meaning of their sacrifice.