Khizr Khan's emotional speech at the Democratic National Convention last week was a glimpse into the painful reality for families of slain soldiers. Khan's son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in 2004 while serving in Iraq. More than a decade later, their grief, as Khan recalled his son's sacrifice onstage alongside his wife, Ghazala Khan, was evident.
But not everyone was moved by their suffering. Donald Trump, whom Khan forcefully condemned in his speech for his anti-Muslim rhetoric, implied in an interview with George Stephanopoulos that Ghazala "wasn't allowed" to speak onstage because of her religion. He later reiterated in a statement that Khan had "no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things."
Trump's blatant disrespect for the Khans provoked severe rebukes from both sides of the aisle. Among those who spoke out was John McCain, whom Trump previously derided for being a prisoner of war. He issued a statement criticizing the GOP nominee:
In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier's parents. He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump's statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers or candidates.
It isn't the first time McCain and Trump have clashed. Last year, Trump said of McCain being captured and tortured while serving in Vietnam:
He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured.
The real estate mogul was widely denounced then for his comments that seemed to dismiss the sacrifices of American soldiers and their families. So it was no surprise that Trump's contempt towards Khan and his criticisms were taken personally by many families who have experienced the same kind of anguish — particularly by Meghan McCain, the Arizona senator's daughter.
In one frank tweet, Meghan McCain succinctly put Trump's remarks into context:
Trump has spoken ill of many groups in the course of his tumultuous presidential campaign. But in a country that views its military with reverence — albeit with a troubling sense of disconnect — his comments are making it increasingly difficult for those who have turned a blind eye to his many other controversies to continue supporting him.
Thankfully, a number of people like the McCains are speaking out against the Trump campaign's divisive rhetoric, including such names as Heidi Klum, J.K. Rowling, and London mayor Sadiq Khan.