Khizr Khan, the father of an American Muslim soldier who was killed in Iraq, recently spoke at the Democratic National Convention. The soldier's mother accompanied her husband and stood in solidarity next to him while he spoke.
Ghazala Khan did not speak, but I assumed nobody needed to hear what she had to say because it was written all over her face, and her husband was saying it anyway: Donald Trump cannot be trusted with America's future, and his anti-Muslim and xenophobic statements dishonor the memory of the Khans' son, Capt. Humayun Khan -- not to mention the palpable raw pain both were experiencing, especially Ghazala.
At least to me, all of that, whether explicitly stated, was clear to everyone watching.
But for the billionth time this election cycle, I was wrong.
When prompted by Maureen Dowd of The New York Times to comment on Khizr Khan's speech, Donald Trump said, "I'd like to hear his wife say something."
I think the implication is clear; Ghazala was not permitted to speak by Khizr and that's why she didn't. But, let's give Trump the benefit of the doubt.
Donald Trump to Army Gold Star father Khizr Khan: “I've made a lot of sacrifices" https://t.co/ZOHLGCaOyChttps://t.co/Myp4oyHyX4 — This Week (@ThisWeekABC) July 30, 2016
If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.
Well, Mr. Trump, Ghazala has something to say, and she said it pretty clearly in a response piece she wrote for The Washington Post:
Donald Trump has asked why I did not speak at the Democratic convention. He said he would like to hear from me. 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.
Essentially, it was obvious to everyone but Trump why Ghazala didn't speak.
She went on recount the life of her son, a man driven by patriotism to sign up for his college's ROTC, a move that eventually landed him in Iraq. She said he went even though he already fulfilled his obligations because he was willing to sacrifice for those he cared about.
Ghazala even shared Humayan's last words to her before he would be killed, and they're far more telling about the kind of man he was, the kind of American he was, than anything I could ever say: "Mom, these are my soldiers, these are my people. I have to take care of them."
That's why she couldn't speak. She couldn't speak because, she explained, "Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself."
She ended her essay with her own conclusion about The Donald, her son and her son's sacrifice:
Donald Trump said he has made a lot of sacrifices. He doesn't know what the word sacrifice means.
I am in no position to judge anyone's sacrifices or declare who is right or wrong, but for once, maybe Trump would have just been better off saying, "no comment."
In any case, people on Twitter had mixed feelings about Ghazala's piece, though most appeared to support the mother.
Decide for yourself and check out the whole piece at The Washington Post.
Citations: Ghazala Khan: Trump criticized my silence. He knows nothing about true sacrifice. (The Washington Post), Trump's Thunderbolts (The New York Times), Donald Trump to Father of Fallen Soldier: 'I've Made a Lot of Sacrifices' (ABC News)