Trump cites own sacrifices in retort to Muslim war hero dad
Donald Trump pushed back against the Muslim-American parents of a fallen U.S. war hero after they questioned Trump’s level of personal sacrifice in a widely hailed appearance at the Democratic National Convention.
The Republican presidential nominee told ABC News that he had “sacrificed” for the U.S. by employing “thousands and thousands of people.” He also suggested that the mother of Army Captain Humayan Khan didn’t speak alongside her husband in Philadelphia because she was forbidden to, as a Muslim.
“Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s script writers write it?” Trump said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that will air in full on Sunday’s “This Week.” “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard,” Trump said in a partial transcript made available by the network.
Khizr Khan, a lawyer with an advanced degree from Harvard Law School who lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, told the New York Times that he wrote his own speech with no input from Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Trump’s been put on the defensive by the emotional testimonyKhan gave about his son, an American Muslim soldier killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004. Khan spoke in prime time on the final night of the conference, minutes before Chelsea Clinton took the stage in Philadelphia to introduce her mother as the Democratic presidential nominee.
The Republican’s campaign has added campaign stops for Monday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Columbus, Ohio, two cities visited on a three-day bus tour through those swing states by Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.
The comments to ABC were Trump’s first response to Khan, who said while his son was killed trying to protect the U.S., Trump had “sacrificed nothing.”
“I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot,” Trump told ABC.
Trump also said of Khan’s wife, Ghazala, who accompanied him on the stage but didn’t speak, “maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say; you tell me.”
In Thursday’s speech Khan, who brandished a copy of the U.S. Constitution and offered to lend it to Trump, criticized the real estate magnate for looking to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
“Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America,” Khan said, addressing Trump. “You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Trump told ABC that Khan “was, you know, very emotional.”
In Denver on Friday Trump took on another critic from the Democratic convention, retired four-star General John Allen, the former Marine Corps commandant who has endorsed Clinton. With Clinton as commander in chief, “our armed forces will not become an instrument of torture, and they will not be engaged in murder, or carry out other illegal activities,” Allen said in Philadelphia.
A Failed General
“You know who he is? He’s a failed general. He was the general fighting ISIS. I would say he hasn’t done so well,” said Trump, using an acronym for the jihadist group Islamic State. Allen led troops in Afghanistan and coordinated the international coalition fighting Islamic State.
While Trump took a day off the campaign trail on Saturday, Clinton’s bus tour rolled onto Trump’s turf as she set her sights on areas of rural western Pennsylvania that have voted for Republican presidential candidates in years past.
The Democrats are traveling aboard two buses made in North Dakota and wrapped with the slogan “Stronger Together” printed at a unionized shop in Tennessee. The Clinton campaign released those details to underscore its commitment to U.S. jobs.
Clinton and Kaine will campaign on Saturday at Johnstown Wire Technologies in Cambria County, which produces an array of steel wire products. Republican Mitt Romney took 58 percent of the vote in the county over President Barack Obama in 2012. The Democrats are expected to highlight Trump’s record of outsourcing manufacturing of clothing, furniture and other products that carry his name, arguing that his business record contradicts his campaign rhetoric about bringing back jobs to working-class areas that have suffered.
Clinton is seeking to cut into Trump’s margin with white, working-class voters in places like Cambria County, which is 94 percent white and has a median household income of $42,000. Any inroads she can make there would make it harder for him to win the state, according to a campaign aide, who discussed the strategy on condition of anonymity.
Although a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won Pennsylvania since 1988 and polling suggests Clinton is running ahead of Trump, Democrats have expressed concerns that Trump’s appeal to working-class white voters could put the state in play.