Arizona Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war and the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, released a lengthy statement Monday excoriating Donald Trump for his comments on the parents of a Muslim who was killed fighting for the United States in Iraq in 2004.
“In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents,” McCain said. “He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement.”
Khizr and Ghazala Khan, who are both from Pakistan, spoke against Trump at the Democratic National Convention last week. Their son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004.
After the convention, Trump questioned whether the Clinton campaign wrote Khan’s speech and whether Ghazala Khan was “allowed to have anything to say.”
Trump later issued a statement saying: “Captain Humayun Khan was a hero to our country and we should honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe.”
Trump has expressed incredulity over the outrage over his remarks: “I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention,” Trump tweeted. “Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!”
I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2016
In his Monday statement, McCain said: “I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates.”
“Captain Khan’s death in Iraq, on June 8th, 2004, was a shining example of the valor and bravery inculcated into our military,” McCain said. “When a suicide bomber accelerated his vehicle toward a facility with hundreds of American soldiers, Captain Khan ordered his subordinates away from the danger. Then he ran toward it.”
“The suicide bomber, striking prematurely, claimed the life of Captain Khan — and Captain Khan, through his selfless action and sacrifice, saved the lives of hundreds of his brothers and sisters,” McCain said.
Added McCain: ”I claim no moral superiority over Donald Trump. I have a long and well-known public and private record for which I will have to answer at the Final Judgment, and I repose my hope in the promise of mercy and the moderation of age. I challenge the nominee to set the example for what our country can and should represent.”
“It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party. 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.”
Weighing in on the debate over restricting immigrants from Muslim countries, McCain said: “Lastly, I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation – and he will never be forgotten.”