PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona led a parade of notable Republicans who sided against party presidential nominee Donald Trump after he posted a sarcastic Tweet about the Muslim parents of an American-raised soldier killed in action.
“I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statements,” McCain, a POW during Vietnam, said in a statement Monday.
The parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, who was awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart after he died in Iraq in 2004, appeared on CNN on Monday to continue their criticism of Trump that began during last week’s Democratic National Convention.
During their convention appearance, the Khans made headlines when the father, Khizr, challenged Trump’s knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and shouted, “You have sacrificed nothing and no one,” about the GOP candidate.
While they were on one of the cable news network’s shows, Trump tweeted:
“I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers or candidates … 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,” McCain said.
McCain is chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Trump mocked McCain’s capture a year ago, saying, “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who aren’t captured.”
Other Republican politicians said:
• “I am dismayed at the attacks Khizr and Ghazala Khan have endured after they spoke about their son’s service and sacrifice. There is never enough honor we can show to the families of those whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Service to our country is above politics.” — House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry of Texas.
• “I am appalled that Donald Trump would disparage (the Khans) and that he had the gall to compare his own sacrifices to those of a Gold Star family.” — Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.
• “Having served in Iraq, I’m deeply offended when Donald Trump fails to honor the sacrifices of all of our brave soldiers who were lost in that war.” — Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado.
• “There used to be some things that were sacred in American politics – that you don’t do – like criticizing the parents of a fallen soldier even if they criticize you. If you’re going to be leader of the free world, you have to be able to accept criticism. Mr. Trump can’t.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
• “Capt. Khan was killed-in-action while honorably serving his nation, and as a country, we are forever indebted to him and his family for his dedication to duty. Heading into November, our party must have a laser focus on the issues that will defeat Hillary Clinton. Period.” — Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
• “Capt. Humayun Khan, and all the Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.” — Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
• “The Khan family, like all Americans who lose loved ones in the defense of our country, deserve our gratitude and honor. Anything else is inappropriate.” — Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who has not endorsed Trump.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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