While some of Donald Trump's fellow Republicans may have been conspicuously circumspect in their criticism of the presidential candidate's comments toward the Muslim family of a fallen soldier, one of America's oldest and most respected veterans' groups isn't holding anything back.
In a blistering statement released Monday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States derided Trump's increasingly hostile statements about Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose speech about their son, deceased Army captain Humayun Khan, was widely seen as an emotional high point of last week's Democratic National Convention.
"Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has a history of lashing out after being attacked, but to ridicule a Gold Star Mother is out-of-bounds," the statement said, referring to Trump's claim that Ghazala Khan wasn't "allowed" to speak by her husband during the DNC (she later explained to MSNBC that it was simply too painful for her to open up in public about her late son).
This is hardly the first time that the dissonance between Trump's pro-military persona, and his decidedly disrespectful attitude regarding military criticism of his candidacy has lead to conflict. Most recently, Trump derided four-star general John Allen as a "failed" military leader who "hasn't done so well" in the fight against the Islamic State, following Allen's enthusiastic endorsement of Hillary Clinton during the DNC.
“Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression," VFW commander-in-chief Brian Duffy explained in the release, using the military term for a family who has lost a loved one during their service.
Duffy was elected to lead the VFW during the organization's national convention in Charlotte, NC, on July 27th. During the same event, Trump himself addressed a reported 5,000 attendees, telling them that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton "put America’s entire national security at risk." Clinton, who spoke to the group the day before, "didn't do very well," Trump told the cheering crowd.
No matter how enthusiastic Trump's VFW reception may have been, it didn't do much to temper the palpable anger felt in the organization's statement on Monday.
"There are certain sacrosanct subjects that no amount of wordsmithing can repair once crossed,” Duffy declared. “Giving one’s life to nation is the greatest sacrifice, followed closely by all Gold Star families, who have a right to make their voices heard."