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Veterans group gathers in Phoenix to criticize Trump’s remarks

Decorated veteran David Lucier, president of the Arizona Veterans and Military Leadership Alliance, shared his perspective at the event. (Photo by Christopher West/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Members of the Arizona Veterans and Military Leadership Alliance blasted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for his comments questioning the family of fallen military officer Humayun Khan, who was killed in the Iraq War.

After a speech by Khan’s father at the Democratic National Convention, Trump criticized the family for saying he was “unfit” to be president.

During a press event held at the Arizona Democratic Party building in downtown Phoenix Tuesday, generations of military veterans came together to criticize Trump’s treatment of service members.

“He (Trump) has gone way beyond disgraceful,” said David Lucier, president of the Arizona Veterans and Military Leadership Alliance.

“You’re talking about dead American veterans, veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and then to criticize their parents on top of that…As a veteran, I am offended,” Lucier said.

Frank Sacco, an Army veteran who had served in World War II, Virgil Cane, a Navy veteran who participated in the Vietnam War, and Tomas Robles, a veteran from the U.S. Marine Corps, all spoke at the event.

Although each had his own focus regarding Trump’s treatment of the military “family,” the tone was the same: heartfelt and serious.

“This is nothing new in the case of Donald Trump…he’s attacked every person on the face of this earth and every representative of the American dream,” said Robles.

Although some high-profile Republicans have criticized Trump’s comments, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, many in his party are standing by him.

Vince Ansel, a Republican veteran, attended a Tuesday evening town-hall meeting with Republican vice presidential candidate and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in downtown Phoenix.

“Everybody has their opinion, that’s what’s beautiful about this country,” Ansel said. “I think that he’ll straighten up the mess that is the Veterans Administration that has been left to the dogs, so to speak, with the Obama administration.”

Trump has responded to criticism of his comments about the Khan family in a series of tweets:

But the members of the Arizona Veterans and Military Leadership Alliance were adamant that they would not support Trump.

“I’m very ashamed to call myself American if he is our president,” Robles said. “I did not sign up to serve my country for that man to represent me.”