Wisconsin veterans denounce Trump’s attacks on Gold Star family

With the Trump campaign preparing for a visit to Green Bay on Friday, Wisconsin veterans are denouncing Donald Trump’s attacks on the parents of an Army Capt. killed in Iraq.

Trump is running 9-10 points behind Hillary Clinton in a CNN poll conducted after the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. And also conducted after the GOP presidential candidate widely criticized the parents of a fallen U.S. soldier, Capt. Humayun Khan.

Khan was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004. His parents, Ghazala Khan and Khizr Kahn, were at the podium at the DNC.

Khizr Kahn addressed the delegates and a TV audience, with his wife at his side.

He criticized Trump for proposing a ban on Muslims entering the United States and said that the billionaire candidate has “sacrificed nothing” for his country.

Trump questioned why Ghazala Khan did not address the convention, suggesting that she was forbidden because of her religion.

In the back and forth that followed, Ghazala Khan wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post, saying, “Here is my answer to Donald Trump: Because without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart.”

She also wrote, “Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?”

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin issued a statement on the issue that did not name Trump but still criticized the candidate.

Ryan 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. As I have said on numerous occasions, a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values. 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.”

The controversy continued into this week, as Trump campaigned in Virginia and prepared to travel to Wisconsin.

Randy Bryce, army veteran and chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s Veterans Caucus, released this statement on Aug. 2: “The disrespect and contempt Donald Trump has shown for our brave men and women serving in uniform disqualifies him from ever being our commander-in-chief. Trump has gone out of his way time and again to insult Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Muslim-American parents of Army Capt. Humayan Khan, who made the ultimate sacrifice defending his troops in Iraq.

“The audacity Donald Trump has to slander Gold Star parents who lost their son defending this country is unconscionable and he has no idea what real sacrifice is. When Donald Trump insults one of us, he insults all of us. We need a president who respects and understands the sacrifice our soldiers make everyday. Donald Trump has shown time and again he does not have the temperament or judgement to be President of the United States.”

Former U.S. Navy Capt. Mary Kolar of Madison said, “Instead of showing respect to a Gold Star family brave enough to share the story of their son’s sacrifice, Donald Trump demonized them. He made it clear he finds patriotism and Islam incompatible, even though soldiers like Captain Humayun Khan prove his bigotry wrong every day on the battlefield. Our country’s diversity is our strength and what makes our military the envy of the world – we should honor each and every man and woman who makes the courageous pledge to defend it.”

“This divisive, dangerous rhetoric from Donald Trump proves exactly why he is unfit to commander-in-chief,” added former U.S. Army Corporal Jerry LaPoint of La Crosse. “As a veteran, I know our soldiers give themselves selflessly in service to our country — they deserve a president who will give them and their families the respect of honoring that service before making decisions to deploy them in our nation’s defense. This is no way to honor a Gold Star family who has made the ultimate sacrifice.”

“Donald Trump clearly does not understand all that our service members give when they join the military,” said former Navy Petty Officer Leon Burzynski of Pewaukee. “Instead, he thinks his failed business dealings are a sacrifice comparable to that of a fallen soldier and the grief of a Gold Star family. This is despicable and we cannot allow someone this out of touch with the values that define America and its military to become our next commander-in-chief.”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign, in a news release, said, “Trump’s comments on the Khan family are the latest in a series of his disrespectful rhetoric and record aimed at American veterans and military families such as lying about donations to veterans’ charities, firing employees because of their military service and verbally attacking prisoners of war.”