WASHINGTON: A group of anguished families of fallen US military personnel today condemned Donald Trump’s “Anti-American” remarks toward the parents of a slain Pakistani-origin Muslim solider and demanded an apology from the Republican presidential hopeful who appeared defiant.
“Your recent comments regarding the Khan family were repugnant and personally offensive to us,” they wrote in a letter to Trump.
The group of 11 “Gold Star” families are those who have lost a family member in war.
“We feel we must speak out and demand you apologise to the Khans, to all Gold Star families, and to all Americans for your offensive, and frankly anti-American comments.”
The letter, published Monday on VoteVets.org, comes amid a growing chorus of criticism in response to Trump’s burgeoning feud with the Khan family, which began after Khizr Khan, the father of slain Army Captain Humayun Khan, delivered a forceful condemnation of Trump in a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week, CNN reported.
Trump responded by criticising his wife, Ghazala Khan, for her silence during his speech and suggesting she was not allowed to speak.
“Ours is a sacrifice you will never know. Ours is a sacrifice we would never want you to know,” the families wrote in the letter to the controversial real estate billionaire.
The group hit Trump for questioning why Mr Khan’s wife did not speak at the convention, writing: “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.”
The also group rejected the idea that Trump was being unfairly criticised for his remarks out of “political correctness.”
“You are not just attacking us, you are cheapening the sacrifice made by those we lost. You are minimising the risk our service members make for all of us. This goes beyond politics. It is about a sense of decency. That kind decency you mock as ‘political correctness.'”
Demanding an apology, they said, “We hope you will hear us.”
Meanwhile, Trump has defended his criticism of the bereaved parents of Humayun Khan by complaining on Twitter that the father “viciously attacked” him in his speech at the Democratic National Convention.
“Am I not allowed to respond?” Trump tweeted. “Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!”
Pakistan-born Khizr Khan’s son Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq in 2004.