WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Khizr Khan, the father of a decorated American soldier killed in Iraq, lashed out at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday for saying his son would still be alive if Trump had been president at the time.
“For this candidate to put his political expediency ahead of any realization of pain and suffering of the families is shameful,” Khan said in an interview with CNN.
The New York businessman raised the name of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan in a Sunday night presidential debate while criticizing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for voting in favor of the 2003 invasion of Iraq when she was a U.S. senator.
“If I was president at that time he would be alive today,” Trump said. Despite his assertion that he always opposed the war, Trump had expressed support for it in a 2002 interview.
Khizr Khan had delivered a speech to the Democratic National Convention in July showcasing his son’s military service and criticizing Trump’s campaign call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country.
Trump responded at the time by questioning whether Khan’s wife, Ghazala Khan, was not “allowed” to speak when she appeared next to her husband on the stage, an insinuation of some conservative form of Islam that embroiled the candidate in an unpopular dispute with the Muslim parents of a fallen war hero.
The Khans were stunned to hear Trump bring up the name of their son, who was killed in 2004, in Sunday’s nationally televised debate, the father said.
“We were not only shocked, we were saddened for such disingenuous expression of his thinking and of his feeling,” Khan said.
Trump has said he has modified his call for a ban on Muslims entering the country to a plan for “extreme vetting.”
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Frances Kerry