President Barack Obama took an implicit dig at Donald Trump for belittling the parents of a slain Muslim U.S. soldier, saying Monday at a speech in Atlanta that the families of veterans are a “powerful reminder of the true strength of America.”
Obama did not mention Trump’s name, but said he’s “pretty tired of some folks trash talking America’s military” in remarks at the annual Disabled American Veterans conference, held this year at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta.
“No one has given more for our freedom and our security than our Gold Star families,” Obama said. “Our Gold Star families have made a sacrifice that most of us cannot even begin to imagine. We have to do whatever we can for those families and honor them and be humbled by them.”
Trump suggested in an interview with ABC News that aired Sunday that the soldier’s father, Khizr Khan, did not let his wife speak because she was not “allowed” to do so. Khan told reporters that his wife, who was standing by his side at the convention, didn’t speak because it was too painful. He also suggested they were controlled by Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The GOP nominee’s comments were condemned by fellow Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, said Trump has “no license to defame” the soldier’s family.
Khan’s 27-year-old son, a U.S. Army captain, died in a 2004 car bombing in Iraq. At the convention, Khan pulled out a dog-eared copy of the U.S. Constitution and questioned whether Trump had ever read the document, saying that Trump “consistently smears the character of Muslims.”
“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities,” he said, in one of the most powerful moments of the convention. “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
As fellow Republicans amped up their criticism of Trump, Trump’s campaign issued a statement late Saturday to “set the record straight” with a statement that Khan’s son was a “hero” and that the focus should be on the militants who killed him.
“While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things,” Trump said in the statement.