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Trump Campaign Asks For Capitol Hill’s Help In Khan Controversy

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Trump Campaign Asks For Capitol Hill’s Help In Khan Controversy

Khizr Khan speaks during the last night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

U.S. Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign appealed to Capitol Hill for support on Monday as his attacks on the Muslim parents of a decorated American soldier killed in Iraq drew sharp rebukes from fellow party members.

Trump’s criticism of Khizr Khan and Ghazala Khan, who took the stage at last week’s Democratic convention, sparked growing concern and dismay from Republican lawmakers responding to the latest Trump outburst to blindside his party colleagues.

Republican Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war and the most prominent veteran in Congress, along with the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, joined the chorus of condemnation, reflecting the highly regarded place the military and its veterans hold with many in the United States.

Trump’s dispute with the Khans has dominated the White House campaign in recent days and underlined the uneasy alliance between many leading Republicans and the party’s freewheeling, unorthodox nominee for the Nov. 8 election.

Rob Wasinger, a onetime congressional candidate who has been working for the Trump camp on congressional outreach, sent an email to senior Senate aides saying, “We want to get several member statements out today on this, and would really appreciate your help.”

A similar appeal was made to Republicans in the House of Representatives, according to a senior aide.

Attached to the appeal were talking points lawmakers could use to try to tamp down the controversy growing since last week’s appearance at the Democratic convention by the Khans, the parents of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed by a bomb in Iraq 12 years ago.

Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump, said that the campaign was grateful to have support in Congress and that Republicans are working to keep Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton from winning the presidency. Wasinger refused to comment when contacted by telephone.

The appeal did not generate any help for Trump. A senior Senate Republican aide, who asked not to be identified, said Republican senators were pleased with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s statement on Sunday calling Captain Khan “an American hero” and noting “a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values.”

At the same time, the aide said the controversy would probably not cause Republican senators to withdraw their endorsements of Trump.

In a convention speech delivered with his wife at his side, Khizr Khan showcased his son’s military service and criticized Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the United States, holding up a copy of the U.S. Constitution and suggesting Trump read it.

Since then, Trump has complained he was “viciously” attacked by the couple and suggested Ghazala Khan might not have been “allowed” to speak, implying her silence reflected restrictions placed on women by some traditional Muslims.

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate and current chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued a lengthy statement sharply criticizing Trump’s comments.

“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 prisoner of war for five years during the Vietnam War.

His counterpart on the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, echoed McCain, saying in a statement he was “dismayed at the attacks Khizr and Ghazala Khan have endured after they spoke about their son’s service and sacrifice.”

The head of the 1.7 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars also said Trump’s attack on the Khans went too far. Trump and Clinton spoke to the group’s national convention last week.


“Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression,” said Brian Duffy, the national commander of the country’s oldest and largest war veterans organization, referring to families who have lost relatives in wars.

President Barack Obama did not mention Trump by name, but said military families who had lost loved ones in service should be honored for their sacrifice.

“No one has given more for our freedom and our security than our Gold Star families,” Obama said at the Disabled American Veterans national convention in Atlanta. “Our Gold Star families have made a sacrifice that most of us cannot even begin to imagine. They represent the very best of our country.”

In the talking points sent to lawmakers, the Trump campaign said he had been asked about the Khans’ comments during the convention and wished them well. The talking points also noted that Trump “wants to end radical Islamic terror, so that our soldiers like Mr. Khan’s son will be safe.”

The list also says Trump had not directly compared his sacrifices to the Khans. Trump said over the weekend he had also made sacrifices in his life by working hard, creating jobs and being successful.

The Khans bristled at that suggestion and, in numerous television appearances over the weekend, said Trump was ignorant about Islam and about their family’s sacrifice.

Trump’s off-the-cuff insults and controversial proposals such as the Muslim ban and a plan to keep illegal immigrants out by building a wall along the Mexican border, have made many in the party establishment reluctant backers of his White House bid.

On Monday, during a town hall event in Columbus, Ohio, Trump told supporters he thought the November election might be “rigged.” Later that day, he said former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders “made a deal with the devil” when he agreed to back Clinton. “She’s the devil,” Trump said, referring to Clinton.

In his statement, McCain recalled how Humayun Khan died, saying that when a suicide bomber aimed his vehicle toward a building housing hundreds of U.S. soldiers, the captain told his subordinates to stay away, then ran toward it.

McCain thanked the Khans for coming to America, saying “your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation – and he will never be forgotten.”

In a remarks to television networks on Monday, Khizr Khan said Trump lacked the empathy to be a leader and chided him for throwing the first salvo in their exchange.

Trump has tried to shift focus from the Khans.

“This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!” Trump said Monday on Twitter.

Ghazala Khan wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post on Sunday saying she had remained silent during her husband’s remarks to cope with making her grief public during the convention.

On Sunday, Democratic rival Clinton said Trump had scapegoated the parents. In addition to Senate Majority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan issued a statement supporting the family.

Trump drew similar opprobrium a year ago when he said McCain, who as a naval aviator was shot down and taken prisoner during the Vietnam War, was not a hero because he had been captured.

In an open letter, 23 Gold Star families said Trump cheapened their sacrifice and called for an apology.

“This goes beyond politics. It is about a sense of decency,” it said. “That kind decency you mock as ‘political correctness.'”


(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Doina Chiacu and Patricia Zengerle in Washington, Ayesha Rascoe in Atlanta, Emily Stephenson in Columbus, Ohio, and Emily Flitter in New York; Editing by Frances Kerry, Jonathan Oatis and Andrew Hay)

Photo: Khizr Khan speaks during the last night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia



  1. A_Real_Einstein August 2, 2016

    Someone needs to tell Bozo the Clown (Donald)to pull up his pants. His ass is showing

    1. Shaymamma8 August 2, 2016


    2. Dan S August 2, 2016

      Well said ????

  2. dpaano August 2, 2016

    I can’t believe he would expect the senate or the house to back his ridiculous comments about Mr. Khan’s speech! Any of them that go along with Trump’s comments would be sealing their own fate, and I sincerely doubt that any of them with brains would do that! They don’t want to be painted with the same brush! It’ll be interesting to see if any of them jump on Trump’s bandwagon…..if so, they can kiss their careers good bye the next time they come up for election!

  3. Jon August 2, 2016

    Is anyone asking whether Donald Trump would have done the same thing that Captain Khan did when he sacrificed himself to save his fellow Americans? When you look at the lifetime of sacrifices that he has made in service to his fellow Americans, the answer is obvious.

    1. jmprint August 2, 2016

      I think five deferments answers that quite loudly. Who do you work for?

      1. Rebecca Surette August 2, 2016

        I would hope that Jon is being sarcastic. Other than half a handful of wives, I can’t think of anything he’s sacrificed.

        1. jmprint August 2, 2016

          I thought he was an trumpanzee with trumpoid fever.

      2. Jon August 7, 2016

        What about his crippling disability? He suffered 24 hours a day with bone spurs.

        1. jmprint August 7, 2016

          Except when he was doing ….

    2. Mama Bear August 2, 2016

      is it possible for you to seriously cite any “sacrifices” this idiot made? How many children did he lose in battle? He ran as fast as he could to avoid the service and you have the utter ignorance to say this? You are either a Trump operative or a complete fool.

      1. Jon August 7, 2016

        If Donnie hadn’t suffered with the crippling disability of bone spurs, he would have been on the front lines putting his life on the line for his country.

        1. Mama Bear August 7, 2016

          right. and so would GW Bush and hundreds of others who conveniently just could not serve.

    3. Erica Stuart August 2, 2016

      The Founder most important claim for the honor of defending their effort was:
      “I pledge my life, my wealth and sacred honor” to the cause. He is on his way…he pays, and puts up with insult hard to tolerate. Now, ask Mr. Khan if he counted the USA names on the burial ground of our soldiers that died to help those strangers. We did not have to. hat is what Mr. Trump is hoping to achieve. Blake heart? No, sane reasoning. Our Constitution clearly states war are only if attacked, in defense of the Nation and its people.

  4. TZToronto August 2, 2016

    It’s become clear that Trump can dish it out, but he definitely can’t take it. Mr. Khan did something that 16 other Republicans were unable to do. Poor Donald. Maybe his heel spurs have traveled to his brain.

    1. I of John August 3, 2016

      I heard he got a purple heart for that. Well, actually a vet gave him one of their.

  5. Roseann Duchon August 2, 2016

    I wonder who will be left for Trump to villify? He’s disparaged Mexicans, Muslims, people of color, the Pope, Women, Transgender and LGBQ, children who “performed” his propaganda on stage by not paying them, small business owners that he stiffed and now our veterans and their families, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that we sometimes take for granted.

    The only ones left are the low educated voters, white males and their Stepford Wives, wealthy oligarchs, and possibly Wall Street investment bankers who have money tied up in his projects.

    But hey–it’s only August!

    1. I of John August 3, 2016

      I suppose he could kick some orphans and widows to the curb.

  6. Erica Stuart August 2, 2016

    This is the most disgusting display of despicable political practices where only winning counts. Nothing wrong to invite a Gold Star mother to honor her son. There is something VERY WRONG to use the event to TRAP a candidate into a debate where only He was held to code of conducts intended as a lynching, not a discussion. Mr.Trump has his own CAUSE of grief stricken mothers who lost sons ans family members to despicable, cowardly actions by Islamic terrorists. Mr. Khan demands that Mr.Trump abandon his effort to protect the innocent people he pledges to serve by any possible means to stop the bloody means used by barbarians that have entered our good will country. Mr. Khan only recognizes his suffering he appears to want recognized.

    We the people, also want and end to our suffering, and have a right to demand it as much as a Gold Star Mother. The children slaughtered by those terrorist are as dear to us as the son of a proud Gold Star Mother. Mr.Trump did not start this issue it was politically pushed by people of questionable motives and it is there where anger should
    be directed. Your method is cheapening the honor and respect due to graving gold star mothers

    1. Eddie August 2, 2016

      All Trump needed to do was acknowledge their loss and wish them well and this would have ended.

      1. Erica Stuart August 2, 2016

        Unfortunately Mr. Khan added some personal insults. It was not Mr.Khan that angered Trump. I am sure it was the cheep tricks being pushed on him from day one by the criminal political machine now running our country. Mr. Trump is an outsider not fully aware of the crimes those con have been dumped us. It is a Pandora Box and they cannot afford to have any open open it. Trump would.
        But, lets look at the issue: Mr.Khan” brave son joined our forces to fight those same militant terrorists who are now coming to the USA and do their killing here. Mr.Trump just wanted to put a fast stop to the invasion. No one knows who these people really are,keep changing names El Quaeda, El Nustria, ISIS and now I read they will break up again and concentrate on fighting in Syria.That is the plan, Trump did not invent this and Syria, Israel just announced that plan by the terrorist. . So, why is Mr.Khan calling Trump names for trying to stop the killing of American on our soil??? The same people his son wanted to kill. Gave me a break, Mr. Khan is the victim of the XXXpolitical machines right and left,who wold use any thing…to stop the only person who will open that Box.

        1. Eddie August 2, 2016

          You are trying to defend someone running for president who can’t properly handle a hero’s greiving father.

      2. Erica Stuart August 3, 2016

        Eddie I will not argue that Trump needs some training in handling
        cheep tricks and remarks.He calls himself a counter punch and must learn to restrain himself for the sake of the task he has assumed BUT
        I my case, with years of experience have little tolerance for the methods used for politic purposes. Mr. Khan ha been going from place to placelooking for someone to listen to their story. A knowledge of various culture would reveal that the award of a Gold Star or any similar Honor have more social meaning in other culture, it is almost like a Royal bequest of an honor that brings certain social rewards of respect and honor.
        Here we accept such Honor but we do not see them as placing us above others, beyond that particular issue. Try to understand what I am saying, that we are what we are BECAUSE we do not feel “above” others. Perhaps someone should tell Mr. Khan “we understand your sorrow and appreciate what you did, what is it you want the USA to do for you?. We now have thousands of people crushed by the same people that killed your son, Mr.Trump and all of us, are distressed by what is happening to our country and our people any one concerned with the many mothers suffering the loss of their beloved. So, is no surprising that Mr.Trump, running for President reacted as he did searching for the fastest way to stop the carnage . The issue must be seen in that manner.

        1. Eddie August 3, 2016

          He is running for President. If he, as you say, will hire good advisors who would keep him from making mistakes, then he should listen to his advisors now. As for learning to restrain himself, his volatility is dangerous, not only for this country, but the world.

    2. A. D. Reed August 2, 2016

      You poor, ignorant bewildered woman. Were you not listening the week before when the mother of a man lost at Benghazi said that Hillary Clinton was directly responsible for her son’s death, and that she considered Clinton guilty of MURDER of her son?

      Did Clinton lash out defensively, angrily, stupidly, pathetically? No, she behaved like a decent human being, and stated that she deeply regretted the loss of four Americans in the attack on the consulate and honored the families for their service.

      What does Trump do? Act like a spoiled five-year-old whose babysitter has told him he can’t have more ice cream because he misbehaved. Then runs screaming to mommy and daddy to get the babysitter fired for enforcing the rules. And when she’s not, runs screaming about how awful mommy and daddy are.

      Erica, maybe you want a spoiled five-year-old throwing temper tantrums in the White House; maybe you want him to have control over the nuclear codes; maybe you think it’s a good idea for him to have the ability, like Richard Nixon on steroids, to use the FBI and CIA to arrest his political enemies, shut down newspapers and TV stations that question him, and “re-do” the libel laws so that there’s no more freedom of the press. Well, that’s the world Donald has specifically promised; it’s also the world that Vladimir Putin has established in Russia.

      Here’s an idea: go live there.

      1. Erica Stuart August 3, 2016

        God heavens Mr. Reed: Your assumptions make me think you are a man. As a Ph.D. In Government and some time as investigative reporter, I have the habit of checking before I talk or write. The Hillary silence over Benghazi is due to her position binding her to the Official response. I am not accusing Hillary of any guilt on Benghazi other than she knew more than she admits and did what they advised Trump to say as good politicians “say nothing new to open more questions”.
        Apart from that many of us paying attention to discordant sounds had hear that the Ambassador knew, what Hillary knew, that an attack was coming and discovered other info. they??? did not want disclosed. The mother knew. The question she is asking is ” why did you let it happen and did not even try to help. That question will forever hunt Hillary and does not care to discuss it. Most likely it involves others.

        Granted Mr.Trump is not vetted to the ways things work in a corrupt system, that is why Trump is risking it. It will be messy, always does when cleaning up Pandora’ s Box. Trump has the good sense to hire the best on each subject.Busy here so moving on.

        1. A. D. Reed August 3, 2016

          Right. “hire the best on each subject.”

          Like Paul Manafort, who has been working for Yanukovich, Putin, and the oligarchs for the past ten years. Corey Lewandowski, comic book store owner/CNN shill. Carter Paige, chief foreign affairs advisor whose only other clients for a dozen years have been Moscow oligarchs.

          Donald Trump, Jr. who committed a felony by asking Scottish citizens, including members of Parliament, to contribute to daddy’s campaign.

          Benghazi has been investigated by eight congressional committees, and there is nothing that happened that we do not know about. Under George Bush, there were 60 attacks on US embassies, consulates, and other installations, dozens killed, and … 0 investigations.

          If you were a real reporter you would know that there’s nothing immoral, illegal, untoward, dishonorable, unjust, or corrupt about what happened in Benghazi. There was a lack of knowledge, a lack of resources (the result of the Republicans’ having cut the budget for State Department security), and an attempt at protection that was unsuccessful. That’s all. There were mistakes made, i.e., not everyone survived.

          But you people’s insistence that a mistake is a crime, a misstatement based on incomplete or incorrect information is a deliberate lie, and that a death by enemy fire oveseas is a deliberate murder by the Secretary of State has gotten pretty damn pathetic.

          Franklyk, I don’t believe for a second you have a Ph.D. in Government; and the people at Breitbart and Faux and Stormtroopers call themselves “investigative reporters,” too.

          No, you’re just an ideologue who’s hitched your wagon to a madman and now have to defend your unwarranted choice by disparaging his opponent, which has been a failed effort since 1992 and will continue to fail through this campaign.

          Move on, and hope you find solid ground to stand upon next time.

  7. I of John August 3, 2016

    if this was a trap he was damned stupid to fall for it.

  8. Erica Stuart August 4, 2016

    Sorry to disappoint you but he Ph.D, is very real same university as Cruz wife. Actually I vote and supported Obama. My suspicion of Hillary started when her Demo friend plotted to dump Obama and bring her back as soon as his support dropped below 40.
    At one point it was so close the Pakistani radio asked question about the generous gift of an electric plant to a village. The answer was “Hillary thought it would be a nice thing to do”. At the same time Netanyahu became suspicious of the big check as a reward for the failed peace talk. Obama finally answered he did not sign that, Hillary gave it to Bibi. You can check these things.As a supported of Obama that attempt of taking over turned me against Hillary and put her on my “attention list”. Trump has more than that on McCain, like the rest of us we have let it go, to HOT but he volunteared to serve on Bibi new force he took from El Qaeda and called it El Nuestra eventually ISIS which is now changing again to become a force to fight Syria. McCain openly repudiated Obama action in Syria and said: “I am proud to serve with Netanyahu force. who, together with mercenaries from Nigeria Bibi had imported fought against our forced in Libya and etc. Bibi wanted war with Syria but Congress stopped it and Obama only could support the protester but Bibi felt itwas not sufficient. . Hillary has been under the guidance of Israeli people from the day she run for Senator with h NY Jewish support. Yes my friend, Israeli Nigerian mercenary were fighting against our people, Mc Cain coordinate action with the terrorist even for that Protest run by the Nazi in Ukraine. This is why the Senate Committee never got an answer, had problem getting HIllary without revealing the rest. As that Republican Congressman stated. Se Veterans Report for facts. Well pardon me for not trusting Hilary. As for Trump to us only happen to be the one person willing to stand up against the parties corruption and what we call TRAITORS to our USA efforts. hat is what Trump means to us. Crazy enough to risk it. No other survived. End of discussion do your own research before insulting.

  9. Roseann Duchon August 5, 2016

    Well Trump can now add BABIES to his hate list! He is so insecure and can only be the sole enter of attention in the room. I guess he must be the only candidate for president who would NEVER kiss a baby on the campaign trail!


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