Khizr Khan, the father of an American Muslim soldier who was killed protecting his unit, said Sunday that Donald Trump’s questions about Khan’s wife represent the “height of ignorance.”
In an interview this week, the Republican presidential nominee questioned why Khan’s wife did not speak during his address to the Democratic National Convention on Thursday in which Khan slammed Trump’s comments about Muslims and veterans.
In an interview with CNN, Khan said that Trump’s suggestion that Khan’s wife was deliberately silenced proved that the real-estate magnate was “incapable of empathy.”
“For this candidate for the presidency to not be aware of the respect of a Gold Star mother standing there, and he had to take that shot at her – this is the height of ignorance,” Khan said.
“This country hold such a person in the highest regard. And he has no knowledge, no awareness – this is the height of ignorance.”
In an op-ed in The Washington Post on Sunday, Ghazala Khan responded directly to Trump’s questions.
She said that she did not speak because she often finds it too painful to think about her son, writing that “without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain.”
“I cannot walk into a room with pictures of Humayun. For all these years, I haven’t been able to clean the closet where his things are – I had to ask my daughter-in-law to do it. Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?”
“Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything. That is not true. My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not. My religion teaches me that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes. Husband and wife are part of each other; you should love and respect each other so you can take care of the family.”
In a statement released on Saturday, Trump said that while he empathized with the Khan family’s loss, Khizr Khan had “no right” to criticize Trump’s knowledge of the Constitution.
“While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr Khan, who has never met me, has 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,” he said.
Trump’s criticism of the Khan family has sparked outrage among political figures from both parties.
On Twitter, high-profile Republican strategists including John Weaver and Tim Miller denounced Trump’s comments about Ghazala Khan.
Trump’s slur against Captain Khan’s mother is, even for him, beyond the pale. He has NO redeeming qualities.
— John Weaver (@JWGOP) July 30, 2016