Families of nearly a dozen fallen soldiers on Monday demanded an apology from Donald Trump for “repugnant” remarks he made in response to the emotional speech given by a father of a slain Muslim Army captain at last week’s Democratic National Convention.
Eleven Gold Star families, those who lost loved ones serving the country’s military, wrote a joint letter to the Republican presidential nominee, accusing him of “cheapening the sacrifice” of their deceased relatives in the way he responded to the parents of Captain Humayun S.M. Khan.
Captain Khan, of Virginia, died in Iraq in 2004. His father, Khizr Khan, had criticized Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. last Thursday.
Trump, in response, said he has “made a lot of sacrifices” by creating “tens of thousands of jobs” during an interview with ABC News. He also questioned whether Khizr Khan’s wife, Ghazala, who was silent on stage next to her husband, was allowed to speak publicly as a Muslim woman.
“Your recent comments regarding the Khan family were repugnant, and personally offensive to us,” the Gold Star families said in their statement. “When you question a mother’s pain, by implying that her religion, not her grief, kept her from addressing an arena of people, you are attacking us.”
“When you say your job building buildings is akin to our sacrifice, you are attacking our sacrifice,” it continued. “You are not just attacking us, you are cheapening the sacrifice made by those we lost. You are minimizing the risk our service members make for all of us.”
The families called on the real estate mogul to apologize to the Khans, all Gold Star families and every American. “Ours is a sacrifice you will never know,” they wrote. “Ours is a sacrifice we would never want you to know.”
Trump, first on Sunday and then again on Monday, tweeted that he was “viciously attacked” by Khizr Khan. Khan has said Trump’s reaction “proves that this person is void of empathy.”
In a new interview Monday, Ghazala Khan told CNN her religion and culture has never stopped her from speaking out. Her husband called for Republican leaders and Trump’s advisors to rebuke him and “set him right.”
“This is proof of his ignorance and arrogance,” Khizr Khan said. “Somebody should tell him that there is equal dignity, equal protection of law in this country.”