Ever since their appearance at the Democratic National Convention, Khizr and Ghazala Khan have emerged as one of the most powerful antidotes to Donald Trump, continually speaking out against the ignorant and hateful anti-muslim rhetoric Trump has spewed since the beginning of his bid for the presidency.
The Khans appeared at the convention in Philadelphia on Thursday to speak of their son, Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004.
During the speech, Khan produced a copy of the Constitution from his suit pocket and condemned Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States as unconstitutional.
In an interview with ABC News, Trump said, “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say… maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.” But he definitely underestimated just whom he was dealing with.
Ghazala Khan fired back in an op-ed in The Washington Post Sunday, in which she condemned Trump’s ignorance of Muslims. ”Donald Trump has children who he loves," she wrote. "Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?"
Mr. Trump’s comments about the Khans have put pressure on Republican leaders to decide whether they will continue to stand by him as the party’s presidential nominee.
Sen. John McCain, who has had his own run-ins with Trump regarding his military record, said, “It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party.”
Even House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has been criticized for not taking a stronger stance on Trump, has weighed in. "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. "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."
Sort of attempting to make peace, Trump issued a statement Saturday in which he called Capt. Khan a “hero” and said the root of the issue is “radical Islamic terrorists who killed him," but still didn't apologize. He claimed in a Tweet that he had been "viciously attacked" by Khan in his DNC speech and deserved the chance to respond.
Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, attempted to clear the air by issuing a statement on Sunday. In the statement, Pence called Capt. Khan “an American hero” and stood by the Trump campaign’s immigration plan that would prevent immigrants from entering the U.S. if they came from countries “that have been compromised by terrorism.”
Even if Trump did make a real apology, the Khans probably wouldn't accept it. “He is a black soul, and is totally unfit for the leadership of this country,” Khan told CNN.