I am referring, of course, to Khizr Khan, whose son was killed in action while serving as a US Army captain in Iraq in 2004. He spoke at last week's Democratic convention, and I thought he surpassed everyone, Democrat or Republican. The quiet passion in his brief remarks, with his wife standing next to him, is undeniable.
As a grieving father, he deserves a great deal of latitude. But Trump, who is both thin-skinned and petty, detests criticism, and began lashing out on Twitter. He claimed Khan had "no right" to criticism him. After all, he's The Donald. He suggested that Khan's wife had been forbidden to speak. You know how those Muslims are. Turns out she was too upset to speak. Then a man who never spent a second in the military claimed that he's made sacrifices, too, because he builds things from which he profits. Most recently, he is claiming he was "viciously attacked." He's also tried to change the subject a few times.
Trumpites on this blog spent the weekend doing pretty much the same thing.
All this reminds me of America's last great demagogue and fearmonger, Senator Joseph McCarthy. Some say this witch hunter was finally upended by Edward R. Murrow, a fearless journalist. Unlike many others, he refused to "be driven by fear into an age of unreason. ... We are not descended from fearful men." There are few Edward R.Murrows in today's world, where reality TV starts become major party nominees. Trump has taken precautions, though, and has revoked press credentials for The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, The Daily Beast, Vox and The Huffington Post. He denies access, hoping that will silence his critics.
Some also say that the people finally wised up during Senate hearings in 1954, in which McCarthy attempted to crucify an Army lawyer named Fred Welch who belonged to the Lawyers' Guild, a left wing organization, while in law school. McCarthy wanted the lawyer fired,despite having no evidence of anything. That's when Jack Welch, who was also representing the Army, spoke up. "Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"
Trump has now had his McCarthy moment. The more he tries to defend himself, and the more his followers attempt to justify his recklessness, the worse he looks. Majority leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, have condemned Trump's continuing remarks. Meghan McCain, daughter of the Arizona Senator, called him a "barbarian." But the best responses to Trump have come from the Khans.
"Donald Trump has children whom he loves," said Ghazala Khan. "Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?”
Trump is now admitting that Khan's son is a "hero," but Khizr Khan responds,
"The snake oil he is selling, and my patriotic, decent Americans are falling for that. Republicans are falling for that. And I can only appeal to them. Reconsider. Repudiate. It’s a moral obligation. A person void of empathy for the people he wishes to lead cannot be trusted with that leadership. To vote is a trust. And it cannot be placed in the wrong hands.”Trump, like McCarthy before him, is playing on people's fear of terrorism. Murrow had something to say about the way we react to these charlatans. "He did not create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right. 'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.'"
Updated 11:12 am: Real Republicans condemn Trump's bile against the Khans - CNN includes comments from John McCain, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Lindsey Graham:
McCain - "While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us."
Nelson - "This is going to a place where we've never gone before, to push back against the families of the fallen."
Jeb Bush - "This is so incredibly disrespectful of a family that endured the ultimate sacrifice for our country."
Kasich - "There's only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect. Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family."
Update #2, 12:00 pm: Trump and his minions have one supporter - ISIS.
Update #3, 4;45 pm: Politico now has published a story amazingly like mine, which shows that great minds think alike. Meanwhile, CNN reports that the VFW is now condemning Trump. They must be part of the Muslim Brotherhood, too. And the Gold Star Mothers have the audacity to demand an apology from The Donald.