Commentary, Park Forest

Temperamentally Unfit to be Commander in Chief: Donald Trump’s Week in the States

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–August 2, 2016.  Donald Trump’s callous disregard for the Gold Star Khan family and the sacrifice they and their son have made for our country has played out across front pages and editorial boards across America. Donald Trump’s comments about the Khan family have shown once again that he is unfit and unqualified to be President. While Donald Trump seems singularly focused on tearing our country apart with his divisive rhetoric, the response in states around the country from veterans, military families, and editorial boards have been unequivocal: We are stronger together.

See below for a roundup of coverage and editorials from across the country this week – and it’s only Tuesday.



Cory Gardner rebukes Trump on Khan fight — but not by name
The Denver Post // Mark Matthews

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner on Monday joined a growing list of Republicans critical of Donald Trump for his verbal feud with a Muslim-American couple whose son died fighting for the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Three Colorado GOP congressmen also issued statements, ranging from highly critical to expressions of support for families of those killed in action.

Gardner, who has not endorsed Trump, said he honors the 2004 sacrifice of Army Capt. Humayun Khan and described as inappropriate Trump’s response to the appearance of Khizr and Ghazala Khan last week at the Democratic National Convention — although, like many lawmakers, he did not mention Trump by name.

“There is no room in American politics to insult our Gold Star families,” Gardner said in a statement. But the Colorado lawmaker did not say how it would affect his support of the party’s presidential nominee.


Pro-Trump Gold Star mother: Let Khans have free speech son died for
Palm Beach Post // Eliot Kleinberg

Karen Vaughn disagrees with just about everything Khizr Khan said about Donald Trump. But she has a message for the world about her fellow Gold Star family: Leave the Khans alone.

The Stuart woman, whose Navy SEAL son, Aaron, died fighting in Afghanistan, spoke July 18 at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Ten days later, she watched on television as Khan, whose son, Humayun, a U.S. Army captain, was killed in action in Iraq, addressed the Democrats in Philadelphia.

“Have you even read the United States Constitution?” Khan asked, his wife standing silently beside him, in one of the most memorable moments of the Democratic National Convention. Pulling a pocket-sized edition from his coat, he said, “I will gladly lend you my copy.”

Khan then invoked the diversity of those buried at Arlington National Cemetery, including Humayun, who was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber in 2004 and is one of 14 Muslim-Americans killed in action in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He told Trump, “You have sacrificed nothing, and no one.”

Gold Star families drawn reluctantly into presidential debate
Tampa Bay Times // Howard Altman

Only a small fraction of American families have suffered the loss of a loved one to military service since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

But all of them have been drawn into a bitterly partisan political debate arising from a father’s rebuke of Donald Trump during last week’s Democratic National Convention.

It’s a place not all of these Gold Star families are comfortable being, in part because they see candidates take interest in them only when it serves their political purposes.

Others, though, say the spotlight is long overdue — that the nation’s leaders should heed the words of those whose sons and daughters have made the ultimate sacrifice.


Branstad to Trump: “That Was a Mistake”
Iowa Public Radio // Joyce Russell

Governor Branstad today criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, after Trump got into a so-called war of words with the father of a soldier who died in Iraq.

At last week’s Democratic convention, with his wife by his side, Khizr Khan spoke out against Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States until security concerns are addressed.

Trump calls that a vicious attack, and he questioned why the dead soldier’s mother didn’t speak.

Branstad suggests Democrats set a trap for the candidate by having Khan speak.

Branstad: Trump’s comments on slain soldier’s parents a ‘mistake’
Des Moines Register // Brianne Pfannenstiel

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad criticized Donald Trump’s recent comments about the family of a slain Muslim-American soldier Monday, though he declined to say whether the Republican nominee for president should apologize.

“I just think that anyone that has died in the service of our country is a hero. And I think that was a mistake,” Branstad, a Republican, said of Trump’s comments. “I believe the focus (of Trump’s campaign) needs to be on the differences that he has with Hillary Clinton in terms of policies.”

Khizr Khan, with his wife, Ghazala, at his side, delivered an emotional speech during the final night of the Democratic National Convention and paid tribute to their son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. Khan was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.


Trump clash with family of deceased soldier riles veterans in Maine
Portland Press Herald // Scott Thistle

On a day when Donald Trump was taking flak from Republicans nationally, Maine veterans and lawmakers also criticized the party’s presidential nominee for engaging in a war of words with the parents of a Muslim-American Army captain who was killed in action.

Trump lashed out at the soldier’s mother and father after the father criticized Trump in a speech Thursday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Khizr Khan, the father of Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004, criticized Trump for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and statements, including that he would place a moratorium on immigration to the United States by those in Muslim countries.

“You have sacrificed nothing and no one,” Khizr Khan said to Trump at the close of his speech.


Minnesota’s Gold Star families struggle with Trump remarks
Minneapolis Star Tribune // Mark Brunswick

As the loved ones of armed forces members killed in combat, Gold Star families always have enjoyed a wide latitude to express their grief — and their opinions — without fear of rebuke.

But furor over Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s remarks to a Gold Star family suddenly has altered the security of that landscape.

Some Minnesota Gold Star families say they are angry, uneasy and frustrated as they are thrust into an uncomfortable position of taking sides. It has also brought up the pain — never far beneath the surface to begin with — of loved ones lost to war.

Seven years to the day after more than 700 people crowded into Rosemount High School to honor the memory and heroism of Jill Stephenson’s son, Army Ranger Cpl. Ben Kopp, she finds it disturbing that the sacrifices American families have made on the battlefield are now so politicized on the campaign trail.


Republicans condemn Trump’s continued attacks on Khan family
Boston Globe // Annie Linskey

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday spent a fourth day under a cascade of criticism over how he treated the family of a US soldier who died in the line of duty, the latest in a series of inflammatory episodes that have come to define his campaign.

In this instance Trump has turned his fire on perhaps the most sympathetic figures that a candidate could target: Those who’ve sacrificed a child to protect the country.

Trump’s remarks in the past few days aimed at Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim, who was killed in Iraq in 2004, prompted a remarkable rebuke Monday from US Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.

Trump complained Monday that he had been ‘‘viciously attacked’’ by the parents. He seemed to acknowledge during a rally Monday that events aren’t going his way in the campaign, but blamed elites — not himself — for his bumpy campaign.


Sen. Richard Burr rebukes Donald Trump’s comments about Gold Star family
The Charlotte Observer // Jim Morrill

Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr has distanced himself from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s comments about the Muslim-American parents whose son died fighting in Iraq.

“There’s no place in America for this,” Burr told a Wilmington TV station Monday. “We need to thank those who commit the ultimate sacrifice, those who put on the uniform and defend this country and our ability to have elections, but I don’t think there will be anybody out there defending the statement that was made.”

During a stop in Wilmington, Burr was asked about Trump’s comments about Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Pakistani-born parents of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

At last week’s Democratic National Convention, Khizr Kahn lashed out at Trump, who has in the past called for a ban on Muslim immigration. Trump has since focused on immigrants from specific countries at risk for terrorism.


Ohio Vets Blast Trump for Criticizing Khans
Youngstown Business Journal // George Nelson

Military veterans from Ohio took aim at Donald Trump over his comments about the family of a U.S. Army captain killed in action in Iraq, even as the Republican presidential nominee continued his feud with the Muslim soldier’s family and was criticized by the party’s 2008 standard-bearer.

“Words do matter,” state Rep. John Boccieri said on a conference call hosted by the campaign of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president. Boccieri, an Iraq veteran who served in the Air Force and now is in the Air Force Reserve, was among veterans on the call.

The call followed Trump’s tweets Monday morning, as Khizr and Ghazala Khan continued to speak out against him and his remarks over the weekend.


Veterans, pols seethe after Trump berates Muslim war hero’s family
Philadelphia Inquirer // Jeff Gammage, Daniel Block, and Vibha Kannan

A flame that was lit last week in Philadelphia continued to scorch Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday, over his criticism of a bereaved Muslim family whose son, an Army captain, was killed in Iraq.

Members of nearly two dozen Gold Star families – those who have had a loved one die in military service to the United States – signed a letter demanding an apology and calling Trump’s remarks “repugnant and personally offensive to us.”

The new president of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the nation’s oldest and largest veterans group, called Trump’s attack “out of bounds,” and said it “will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression.”

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and a former Vietnam War POW, rebuked Trump and said that nomination does not carry “unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.”

Local military families weigh in on Trump’s comments to Khans
AP // Jennifer McDermott and Seanna Adcox

Their sons were killed in Iraq about a week apart.

So when Karen Meredith heard the grieving parents of a decorated Muslim Army officer being belittled by Donald Trump, she cried.

So did Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia, who lost her son to war that same year.

Meredith said she hadn’t wept over her son’s death for a long time, but the Republican presidential nominee “ripped the wounds right open again.”

“You don’t attack one Gold Star family, because if you do, you’re attacking a lot of us,” Meredith, 62, of Mountain View, California, said Monday.

Local vets appalled by Trump’s comments
The Daily Item // Rick Dandes

Several Valley veterans Monday night said Donald Trump had “crossed the line” with his comments about the family of Capt. Humayun Khan, after Khan’s father, Khizr Khan, criticized Trump at last week’s Democratic Convention, in Philadelphia.

Khan called out Trump for his divisive religious discriminatory policiy proposals, which would have prevented their son, an Army captain who gave his life to save other soldiers in his unit – from even entering the United States of America.

Trump has been very critical of Khan and compared his sacrifices made in business to the Kahn family’s sacrifice.

Mothers seek Trump apology
Scranton Times-Tribune // Bob Kalinowski
The mothers of two Luzerne County men killed in Iraq are demanding an apology from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for comments he made about the parents of a slain Muslim Army soldier.

Marianne Cleary of Dallas Twp. and Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia, along with 21 other Gold Star family members from across the nation, fired off a letter to Mr. Trump on Monday blasting him for being insensitive to families of the fallen.

Gold Star families are those who have lost a family member in war.

Mr. Trump has been in a war of words with the parents of slain Army Capt. Humayun Khan since the soldier’s father spoke out against Mr. Trump and his stance on Muslims at the Democratic National Convention last week. The candidate later questioned why the soldier’s mother, Ghazala Khan, remained silent on the stage during the speech, implying she wasn’t permitted to speak due to the couple’s faith.

Pa. vets chastise Trump on Khan comments
York Dispatch // Sean Phillip Cotter

During a conference call with reporters, a couple of Pennsylvania-based veterans worry that if Donald Trump were elected president, there could be a situation where the military would have to go directly against “illegal or immoral orders” from him.

“I would hope and pray that a military-civilian crisis is not in our future,” said retired Major Gen. Gale Pollock.

When asked what that means, Pollock, elaborated: If members of the military believe they’ve been given an order that’s illegal or immoral, they’re oath-bound not to follow it, she said.

Orders, she said, like Republican nominee Trump’s calls for torturing suspected terrorists and killing their families.

How dare Trump belittle the memory of a fallen American soldier, and attack his mother
Philly Voice // Celeste Zappala

Watching Mr. and Mrs. Khan on Thursday night speaking at the convention, I began to cry.

My phone lit up as friends checked in to assure me they were watching. I was acutely aware of Mrs. Khan’s trembling face, and felt great empathy for her being on that stage, exposed and trying so hard to keep her emotions in tact.

I watched Mr. Khan slip his arm around her, and thought how much comfort they must take in each other. When Mr. Khan pulled out the Constitution from his pocket, I cheered. Yes , I thought, yes this has needed to be said on a major stage for all these months of campaigning – that the sacrifices of families in these long miserable years of war have come from people of all faiths.

I have seen Humayan Khan’s stone in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery. I have attended funerals there, and memorials. It is very clear to me that the stones reflect the young, precious lives lost, and they may show a symbol of the fallen soldier’s faith, but they never show a sign of their political party, nor a dollar sign to show their wealth.

PA Veterans Concerned With Trump’s Comments Towards Military
KYW // Pat Loeb

Two Pennsylvania veterans have joined General John Allen’s warning: that republican Donald Trump’s verbal attacks on members of the military, and their families, could presage conflict with the armed forces if Trump becomes commander-in-chief.

Retired major General Gale Pollock says she’s unhappy to get involved in the uproar over the republican candidate’s comments about the family of Humayun Khan, who died protecting his army unit in Iraq, but says she could not stand by.

“I’m just really troubled by this. I would certainly hope that a military-civilian crisis is not in our future,” said Pollock.

Her ominous statement was quickly echoed by former Navy commander Manon Trivedi, who joined her on a conference call set up by the Clinton campaign.

Outraged Pennsylvania Veterans Demand Trump Apology
NBC 10 //

Outraged Pennsylvania veterans demanded that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump apologize for his recent comments on a Gold Star family over the weekend.

Trump has been attacked by both Democrats and Republicans for his repeated criticism of Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim U.S. Army captain who was killed in Iraq.

In an emotional appearance at last week’s convention, Khizr Khan criticized Trump for proposing to temporarily freeze the entry of foreign Muslims into the U.S. and accused him of making no sacrifices for his country. The billionaire businessman challenged that assertion and also implied Ghazala Khan’s religion prevented her from speaking. On Monday, he tweeted that “Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same.”

The Khans appeared at the Democratic convention Thursday night. The Pakistan-born Khizr Khan told the story of his son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, and questioned whether Trump had ever read the Constitution. During the speech, Ghazala Khan stood quietly by his side.

‘Disgusting and disgraceful’: Veterans react to Trump’s broadsides at Khan family
PennLive // Ivey DeJesus

Former Congressman Chris Carney, who served as a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, called “disgusting and disgraceful” Trump’s comments about the family of a Muslim-American soldier killed combat in Iraq.

Carney joined with other veterans and military families from across Pennsylvania in responding to Trump’s remarks about Pakistani immigrant Khizr Khan, who spoke on the final night of the Democratic National Convention.

“Folks like me who served this country honorably are absolutely disgusted at Trump,” he said. “Those who have given the last full measure of devotion – he denigrates their service, he denigrates their families.”

Gale S. Pollock, a United States Army Major General (Retired) from Gettysburg, said she “could not stand by” and watch Trump abuse the Khan family.