Trump feud with slain soldier’s parents roils White House race

Donald Trump's confrontation with the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier escalated Monday, shaking the US presidential campaign amid Republican Party outcries over the real estate tycoon's comments about the couple.

The feud has become a flash point of the 2016 White House race that pits Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

It has dominated the news cycle ever since Pakistani immigrant Khizr Khan galvanised the Democratic National Convention last Thursday with a tribute to his dead son in which he rebuked the Republican nominee for having "sacrificed nothing" for the country.

Trump defended himself on ABC's "This Week", insisting he had made "a lot of sacrifices" while suggesting that Khan's wife, who stood silent on the convention stage as her husband spoke, had not been allowed to talk.

Then on Monday, Trump renewed his assault, tweeting: "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 - Nice!"

Now, the families of 23 other slain US soldiers have called on Trump to apologise for his "repugnant and personally offensive" remarks.

"We feel we must speak out and demand you apologise to the Khans, to all Gold Star families, and to all Americans for your offensive, and frankly anti-American, comments," they said in an open letter.

Army captain Humayun Khan was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004.

Trump's sustained hostility toward the Khans - alarming in part because criticism of Gold Star families of war dead has traditionally been off limits in American political discourse - has received bipartisan condemnation including from Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war once mocked by Trump for being captured in Vietnam.

"I cannot emphasise enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump's statement," McCain said in a lengthy statement.

"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," he added.

"I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates."

To 'malign' a nation

Unequivocal condemnation also rained down from Republican House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry, who said he is "dismayed at the attacks" on the Khans.

The top two Republicans in Congress released carefully crafted statements denouncing the remarks, although without mentioning the name of Trump, who has urged a ban on Muslims entering the country.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday in the thick of the feud that "Captain Khan was an American hero."

"And as I have long made clear, I agree with the Khans and families across the country that a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values."

House Speaker Paul Ryan also said he rejects such a religious test.

Speaking of Captain Khan, Ryan said "his sacrifice - and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan - should always be honored. Period".

With the two sides slinging criticism, Khan on Sunday assailed Trump as a "black soul" who lacks the moral compass or temperament to be president.

Then on Monday, Khan criticised Trump's "ignorance" for disparaging him for speaking out.

"He can get up and malign the entire nation - the religions, the communities, the minorities, the judges," Khan said on NBC's "Today" show.

"And yet a private citizen in this political process, in his candidacy for the stewardship of this country, I cannot say what I feel? That proves the point he has not read the Constitution of the country."

Clinton weighed in Sunday, saying Trump's insulting rhetoric was "just beyond my comprehension". "He has throughout the course of his campaign consistently insulted and demeaned individuals, groups of Americans, people around the world. And one doesn't know where the bottom is," Clinton told reporters in Ohio.

A new CBS News poll released Monday showed Clinton received a four-point bounce in support after her party's convention and now leads Trump by seven points, 46 per cent to 39 per cent.

After the Republican convention, prior to the Democratic one, Trump got a two-point bump and the race was tied, CBS said.

Source: Jordan Times