Veteran Groups, Gold Star Families Condemn Donald Trump Over Attacks on Khan Family

GOP nominee struggles to put controversy behind him as backlash intensifies

Last Updated: August 2, 2016 @ 1:07 PM

A number of prominent combat veteran organizations slammed the Republican party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday after he criticized the Muslim-American parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq while saving his fellow soldiers.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the nation’s oldest and largest veterans organization, said Trump was out of bounds for insulting Gold Star parents.

“Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression,” VFW leader Brian Duffy said in a statement.

Vet Voice Foundation — a non-profit that promotes political activity among military veterans — told  The National Memo on Monday that Trump’s behavior was “stunning.”

Meanwhile, Vets VS Hate — a grassroots network of veterans against Trump — said the GOP nominee’s comments were “unacceptable.”

“The idea that the president of the United States would show disrespect or slander or attack our parents, no matter what they have to say, is fundamentally unacceptable,” group organizer Alexander McCoy said.

And a group of Gold Star families demanded an apology from Trump in an open letter published published overnight. The letter — signed by family members of 11 service members who were killed in Iraq — slammed the GOP nominee calling his recent comments on the Khans “repugnant.”

In the 13 months since he descended an escalator to announce his bid for the White House, Donald Trump has managed to offend Mexicans, Muslims, Jews, veterans, African-Americans, women and the disabled. To the surprise of pundits and political strategists, his poll numbers continued to rise.

But just 100 days before the general election, Trump may have finally crossed a line in a way he can’t walk back.

Trump, critics say, went too far when he attacked Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son Humayun died in Iraq in 2004 after saving hundreds of his fellow soldiers.

Khizr Khan — who criticized Trump for his proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S. during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week — is now appealing to Republican voters, urging them to disavow their nominee.

“This candidate is void of empathy, so I will continue to reach out to Republican voters to refrain from voting for this candidate,” Khan told NBC News on Monday. “He needs to mend his way.”

Republican leaders have also condemned Trump’s actions. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both issued statements supporting the Khans.

And Arizona Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war who was himself the target of a Trump attack last year, also weighed in on Monday, saying in a statement that Trump did not have “unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.”