Washington, Aug 1: Donald Trump's comments against father of a slain Pakistani-origin American Muslim soldier appears to have shaken the US presidential race as his own party leaders came out openly against the gaffe-prone Republican presidential nominee. [Trump has a dark heart, says Khizr Khan]
While House Speaker Paul Ryan said a "religious test" for entering the US is "not reflective of the country's fundamental values", former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said the reality TV star's remarks were "disrespectful" in targetting a family that endured the "ultimate sacrifice" for the country. [When Hillary ruled Democratic National Convention 2016]
Ryan hailed Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004, and said America's greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it. [Is publication of Melania Trump's nude photos in NY Post a divertionary tactic?]
"As I have said on numerous occasions, a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values. I reject it," he said in a statement. "Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice. Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice - and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan - should always be honoured. Period," he said. [Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign hacked]
Governor John Kasich of Ohio, a former Republican presidential candidate, tweeted: "There's only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honour and respect. Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family."
Kasich was joined by Bush on Twitter in slamming Trump. "This is so incredibly disrespectful of a family that endured the ultimate sacrifice for our country," said Bush, who badly lost the Republican primary to Trump.
In an interview to CNN, Senator Jeff Session who was among the first few top Republican leaders to endorse Trump said that he "rejects" and is "disappointed" over the remarks made by the billionaire from New York against Khan.
The 70-year-old real estate tycoon sparked controversy last week when he lashed out at Humayun's father Khizr Khan over his speech on Thursday at the Democratic National Convention in which he was highly critical of Trump and said that the billionaire has "sacrificed nothing" for the country.
A day later, Trump hit back, saying he created thousands of jobs and questioned whether his wife was even "allowed" to speak, triggering a national outrage following which he later called Humayun a "hero".
He, however, continued to criticise Khizr, drawing a flood of criticism yesterday. Many criticised him both for attacking a mourning mother and because many considered the remarks racist and anti- Muslim, especially because they came from someone who has called for a ban on Muslims entering the US.
"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!" Trump tweeted, even as his running mate came to his rescue giving another set of clarification.
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
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2016
"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," Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, said as the national outrage over Trump's comment refused to die down.