Will Trump’s verbal indiscretion cost him the election?

U.S. Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign appealed to Capitol Hill for support on Monday following condemnation not only from the Democrats, but also from his own party for insulting a Gold Star family.

Last week at the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan, parents of a fallen Muslim-American soldier, slammed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, alleging that he had never read the Constitution and saying, “Go look at the graves of brave Americans who died defending United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing.”

Addressing the DNC, Khan alleged that “if it was up to Donald Trump,” the Pakistani-Muslim family never would have made it to America. “He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.”

The Republican candidate’s response appeared to lack empathy or tact, and especially infuriated the Muslim community with its degrading generalization. Noting that Khan’s wife stood silently by his side, Trump said, “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

Polls indicate that support for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has increased since Trump made that demeaning and seemingly racist statement.

2008 Republican candidate castigates Trump

John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate and current chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, castigated Trump for his remarks. “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, who was a prisoner of war for five years during the Vietnam War, said.

The head of the 1.7 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) also attacked the Republican candidate.

“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,” said Brian Duffy, the organization’s national commander.

The Trump campaign has been working furiously, trying to mitigate the situation.

Trump comments ‘blown out of proportion’

Trump’s son Eric, speaking to CBS,  said that his father’s comments were “honestly blown out of proportion” and that he is “a great patriot,” who “doesn’t want to see more Americans dead.”

Notwithstanding Trump’s lack of discretion, there were those who came to his defense, condemning the DNC for cynically using bereaved parents to attack their opponent.

For instance, in an open letter to Khizr Khan, Chris Mark, a U.S. Navy and Marine veteran, wrote:

“Does it matter whether Mr. Trump has sacrificed…nothing and no one?…has Ms. Clinton ..sacrificed for this nation?  How about Mr. Obama?  Your comment stating that Mr. Trump ‘…has sacrificed no one’ is alarming.  Are you intimating that YOU sacrificed?  Sir, your son willingly sacrificed himself.  As a father I cannot imagine the pain you must feel but his sacrifice is his own.  He was not forced to serve.

“I am troubled that you would allow a party that has little more than contempt for the US Service Member to parade you into the DNC to denounce Donald Trump,” the letter continued. “Did you watch when protesters at the DNC booed and heckled Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Florent Groberg? Did you notice your party interrupting the moment of silence for slain police officers?  Your own hypocrisy in not denouncing these acts and instead using the DNC as a platform to make a political point is disgraceful. The simple fact is that whether one served or sacrificed does not give greater power to their statements. One vote is as valuable as another. That, sir, is why our country is great. Your condemnation of one person for a statement while standing idly as your party disparages veterans and police officers is the height of hypocrisy.”

Anti-Muslim vs. war on Radical Islam

“To conflate the need to prevent potential terrorists from entering our country with the belief that ‘all Muslims’ should be banned is simply wrong and disingenuous. Trump has stated on several occasions that he is not anti-Muslim, but that he is fighting Radical Islam,” Mark concluded.

On Sunday, fighting the backlash, Trump tweeted, “Captain Khan, killed 12 years ago, was a hero, but this is about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR and the weakness of our ‘leaders’ to eradicate it!”

Later that evening, Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, issued the following statement:

“Donald Trump and I believe that Captain Humayun Khan is an American hero and his family, like all Gold Star families, should be cherished by every American.

“Captain Khan gave his life to defend our country in the global war on terror. Due to the disastrous decisions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a once stable Middle East has now been overrun by ISIS. This must not stand.

“By suspending immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism, rebuilding our military, defeating ISIS at its source and projecting strength on the global stage, we will reduce the likelihood that other American families will face the enduring heartbreak of the Khan family.

“Donald Trump will support our military and their families and we will defeat the enemies of our freedom.”

In another open letter to Khan, published by US Defense Watch and written by its founder, Ray Starmann, a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and veteran of the Gulf War, the writer expresses his sympathy, saying that “as a former US Army officer, and a veteran of the Gulf War, I can certainly understand the pain and anguish that you and your wife endure every day.”

‘Whether you are offended is irrelevant’

However, “Whether you, your wife, the Muslim world and millions of Democrats are offended by Mr. Trump’s realistic view of the world is irrelevant. Whether you, your wife and son would have been prohibited from emigrating from Pakistan to America under Mr. Trump’s wartime plan is irrelevant. The security of this great land supersedes your desires and the desires of others who wish to come here now. The United States of America has no obligation to open its doors in order to placate foreigners and liberals in our government.

“To adopt any other course but Mr. Trump’s would be a cause for further endangering the lives of Americans every day…

“We must live in a world of reality, not a world of denial, delusion and fantasy the Democrats inhabit every waking day of their lives. Radical Islam is the enemy of everyone on this planet who believes in freedom and justice. Until it is destroyed, this nation must protect itself from enemies both foreign and domestic.”

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News

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