Donald Trump asserted once more that Humayun Khan, a Muslim American soldier who died at age 27 in 2004 while serving in Iraq, would still be alive had he been president at the time.
The Republican presidential nominee, 70, spoke about the slain soldier — who lost his life attempting to stop a suicide bomber from attacking his fellow troops —during a Wednesday, October 26, with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.
“Had I been president, Captain Khan would be alive today,” he reiterated. “We wouldn’t have been in this horrible, horrible mistake, the war in Iraq.”
As viewers witnessed on the second presidential debate between Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on October 9, the real estate tycoon said that Khan wouldn’t have died if he had been in office because he claimed he “was against the war in Iraq” from the start. (However, in multiple early-2000s interviews with outlets such as Esquire and The Howard Stern Show, he voiced his support for the United States’ invasion of Iraq.) He made similar remarks about Khan during rallies leading up to this year’s election.
Trump, who faced major backlash for his insensitive remarks, told Stephanopoulos, 55, that he has “great respect” for Khan and his parents, Khizr and Ghazala — vocal supporters of Clinton, 69 — who memorably spoke out against the business mogul (who has previously called for a ban on Muslims entering the country) at the Democratic National Convention back in July.
Khizr, who began campaigning for Clinton in Norfolk, Virginia, on Wednesday, told ABC News that despite Trump having “great respect” for the Khan clan, he still isn’t on board with the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host’s bid for the Oval Office.
“This is the most cruel thing you can say to grieving parents, that if I was there this would not have happened,” he said in response to Trump’s comments. “There’s no sincerity in those remarks … This is one character that a leader must have to be the leader of a great country, to be the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the United States: empathy. And this person totally lacks that.”
During his chat with Stephanopoulos, Trump also attempted to explain his contradictory comments about former president George W. Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq.
“That was the first time I was ever even asked about Iraq,” he said. “That was long — that was way before. If you look at just before the war started, I said, ‘Don’t do it. It’s a mistake. You’re going to destabilize the Middle East.’”
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