News & Politics

9 High-Profile Republicans Who Praised Capt. Khan After Trump's Attack

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., answers a question during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Khizr Khan won headlines attacking Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention. The father of an American soldier killed in Iraq, Khan said Trump has sacrificed nothing for his country, and urged Republican leaders to distance themselves from the party’s nominee.

The Donald retaliated with characteristic bombast on Sunday, suggesting that Khan’s wife was silent because “she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”

Ghazala Khan, Khizr’s wife, told MSNBC she was too choked up by the sight of her son’s photo on the large DNC video screen to make any remarks. She was not silenced by some Islamic misogyny, as Trump seemingly implied, but rather by her own grief.

“Without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain,” the mother declared in a Washington Post op-ed. “I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart.”

At least nine high-profile Republican leaders have praised Khan’s son as an example of true American patriotism after Trump’s remarks. Many of them have also disparaged The Donald’s comments about the Khans.

Here are nine Republicans who have praised Khan following Trump’s attacks.

9. Kelly Ayotte.

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, YouTube Screenshot

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, YouTube Screenshot

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte said in a statement Sunday that Captain Humayun Khan was a “true American hero.”

She added that she was “appalled that Donald Trump would disparage” the Khan family, and that The Donald “had the gall to compare his own sacrifices to those of a Gold Star family.”

She declared that Khan’s family deserves support, respect, and gratitude, and has every right to express themselves any way they choose.

Next Page: Two presidential candidates from the South.

8. Lindsey Graham.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., answers a question during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., answers a question during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who was also a presidential candidate, declared that “‘unacceptable’ doesn’t even begin to describe” Trump’s remarks.

“This is going to a place where we’ve never gone before, to push back against the families of the fallen,” Graham said in a statement to ABC News. “There used to be some things that were sacred in American politics — that you don’t do — like criticizing the parents of a fallen soldier even if they criticize you.”

Graham added that “if you’re going to be the leader of the free world, you have to be able to accept criticism. Mr. Trump can’t.”

7. Jeb Bush.

Jeb can fix it podium

Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, gestures as he speaks to supporters during a rally, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush also attacked Trump’s remarks. “This is so incredibly disrespectful of a family that endured the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” he wrote on Twitter.

Next Page: Two presidential candidates from the Midwest.

6. Scott Walker.

Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who also ran for president this cycle, condemned Trump’s comments in an interview with The Hill. He explained that The Donald’s comments fell on him like a personal insult.

“To me, I just think about it, from my point of view, just from a personal, not even a political level. I hold Gold Star families in such reverence,” Walker said. “They’ve earned our respect. I would never — I don’t care what they say, you’ll never hear me question anything about a Gold Star family.”

“I’ve gone to too many funerals,” the Wisconsin governor continued. “I’ve met too many families and it’s just — what they’ve sacrificed is unbelievable.”

Walker demonstrated his personal connection to veterans by pulling up the sleeve of his blazer and displaying the black wristband he wears to commemorate a young U.S. soldier, Christopher Horton, who died in Afghanistan.

5. John Kasich.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Ohio Governor John Kasich, the last candidate to drop out of the Republican presidential race, praised Capt. Khan as a hero and subtly attacked Trump’s remarks.

“There’s only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect,” Kasich declared on Twitter. “Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family.”

Next Page: Two leading senators.

4. John McCain.

FILE - In this April 28, 2016 file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. McCain says President Barack Obama is “directly responsible” for the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., in which a gunman killed 49 people because he allowed the growth of the Islamic State on his watch. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE – In this April 28, 2016 file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. McCain says President Barack Obama is “directly responsible” for the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., in which a gunman killed 49 people because he allowed the growth of the Islamic State on his watch. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, savaged Trump in comments about the Khans. “I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement,” McCain declared on Monday. “I hope Americans undersand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates. I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America,” the senator added. “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.” McCain warned The Donald that “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.” He concluded with a final praise for the fallen soldier. “Captain Khan’s death in Iraq, on June 8th, 2004, was a shining example of the valor and bravery inculcated into our military. When a suicide bomber accelerated his vehicle toward a facility with hundreds of American soldiers, Captain Khan ordered his subordinates away from danger.”

3. Mitch McConnell.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky, declared that “Captain Khan was an American hero, and like all Americans I’m grateful for the sacrifices that selfless young men like Capt. Khan and their families have made in the war on terror.” “All Americans should value the patriotic service of the patriots who volunteer to selflessly defend us in the armed services,” McConnell added. “And as I have long made clear, I agree with the Khans and families across the country that a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values.”

Next Page: The only two Republicans almost as big as The Donald himself.

2. Paul Ryan.

 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

House Speaker Paul Ryan joined the chorus of support for Captain Khan and attacked Trump’s notion of a ban on Muslim immigration. “America’s greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it,” Ryan declared in a statement on Sunday. “As I have said on numerous occasions, a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values.”

Ryan emphatically declared of such a test, “I reject it. 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 honored. Period.”

1. Mike Pence himself.

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Indiana Governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence issued a statement Sunday, calling Captain Khan “an American hero” and saying that his family, “like all Gold Star families, should be cherished by every American.” He also emphasized that Donald Trump joins him in these beliefs.

Pence also attacked President Obama for the instability in the Middle East. “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.”

Trump’s running mate also defended The Donald’s most nuanced version of the Muslim ban:

“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.”