Donald Trump is embroiled in another media controversy, this time over his reaction when asked about the emotional speech at the Democratic National Convention by the bereaved parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, an immigrant soldier who died in Iraq in 2004.
As noted here at Breitbart News, the speech was a powerful rebuke, though factually incorrect: the Constitution does not bar religious tests for immigrants, for example.
Now the media has dutifully weaponized the speech to attack him.
In an interview with Maureen Down of the New York Times, and again with former Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Trump was asked to respond to the speech, which Khan’s father gave while his mother stood silently. He told Dowd, “I’d like to hear his wife say something,” referring to the subordinate status of women in Islam.
Trump said the same to Stephanopoulos, adding that Khan’s father, Khizr Khan, “looked like a nice guy to me,” and defending his own “sacrifices”* for America. He suggested that the Clinton campaign had scripted Khan’s remarks — a charge the family later denied on MSNBC — and returned to his basic policy argument: “We’ve had a lot of problems with radical Islamic terrorism, that’s what I’d say.”
In response, the usual freakout. Ezra Klein of Vox.com, for example, wrote an article headlined: “Donald Trump’s slander of Captain Humayun Khan’s family is horrifying, even for Trump.”
But when bereaved Benghazi mother Patricia Smith spoke at the Republican convention the week before, one Vox.com writer called it an example of “a longstanding Republican tendency of extreme overreach.” Another said it was a “scary” appeal to the GOP base, “a new crossing of a line and an ugly degradation of a norm in American politics.” Another rushed to reassure Vox.com readers that “no official inquest into Benghazi — and there have been many — has found evidence that Clinton is personally responsible for the events of that night.” Another cited Smith’s speech, and the audience’s reaction (“lock her up!”), “really disturbing.” And another argued that “spotlighting Smith felt a bit exploitive — and, at the same time, irrelevant.”
Talk about “horrifying.”
Other media outlets reacted the same way: PolitiFact rushed to “fact-check” Smith’s claims, though her story has been corroborated by other bereaved Benghazi parents.
Could Trump have been more gracious? Of course. But Clinton — whose negligence contributed to Sean Smith’s death — essentially called Patricia Smith a liar on national TV, and few in the media objected. Some, in fact, joined Clinton’s attack.
The double standard is glaring, and tiresome.
* Stephanopoulos asked Trump what sacrifices he had made for the country, following up on Khan’s rebuke to Trump (“You have sacrificed nothing, and no one”). Bill Clinton notoriously avoided the Vietnam draft — a subject that came up in his 1992 presidential campaign, as Stephanopoulos surely remembers.
Update: Making the circuit of the Sunday morning shows, Khan’s father said terror has “nothing to do with Islam.”
Meanwhile, Trump has issued the following statements, via Twitter and his campaign website:
Captain Khan, killed 12 years ago, was a hero, but this is about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR and the weakness of our “leaders” to eradicate it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2016
“Captain Humayun Khan was a hero to our country and we should honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe. The real problem here are the radical Islamic terrorists who killed him, and the efforts of these radicals to enter our country to do us further harm. Given the state of the world today, we have to know everything about those looking to enter our country, and given the state of chaos in some of these countries, that is impossible. While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things. If I become President, I will make America safe again.
“Further, Hillary Clinton should be held accountable for her central role in destabilizing the Middle East. She voted to send the United States to war against Iraq, helped lead the disastrous withdrawal of American troops years later that created the vacuum allowing the rise of ISIS, and has never met a regime change she didn’t like (which have all been disasters) – not to mention her invasion of Libya and her abandonment of American personnel in Benghazi. The loss of these lives in Libya is directly traceable to Clinton, but their families’ testimonials were rejected by the media.
Clinton’s actions have been reckless and have directly led to the loss of American lives. And her extreme immigration policies, as also laid out by American victims in Cleveland, will cause the preventable deaths of countless more — while putting all residents, from all places, at greater risk of terrorism.
As Bernie Sanders said on numerous occasions, Hillary Clinton suffers from “bad judgement.” She is not qualified to serve as Commander in Chief.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.