Donald Trump’s smear campaign against Khizr and Ghazala Khan reached its logical rhetorical conclusion on Monday when Trump took the reins back from his willfully dishonest surrogates and walked his rebuttal argument to the Gold Star family the final bigoted mile himself. Professional Trump supporters spent much of Monday regurgitating fabrications about the Muslim military family, scoured from the far reaches of the conspiratorial internet, that claimed Khan, a Pakistani-American lawyer, had terrorist links. That response is as shameful as it is expected at this point.
In an interview with Columbus’ ABC affiliate Monday, Trump himself said explicitly it was his position on trying to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the U.S. that prompted Khan to criticize him.
“It’s a very big subject for me. And border security’s very big. And when you have radical Islamic terrorists probably all over the place, we’re allowing them to come in by the thousands and thousands. And I think that’s what bothered Mr. Khan more than anything else.”
Khan, who’s son was killed fighting in Iraq, gave one of the most powerful addresses of last week’s Democratic convention. Since that moment, Trump has continually hinted there is something sinister at play. You could say it is a dog whistle aimed at stoking Islamophobia as a political strategy, but that’s giving Trump too much credit and his remarks too much cover. The intent behind Trump’s remarks has been perfectly understandable to everyone throughout.
It took four days from the night Khizr addressed the Democratic National Convention for Trump to arrive at explicitly saying Khan is a terrorist sympathizer, which somehow resembles restraint when it comes to Trump. Some Republicans have condemned Trump’s previous remarks. All that’s left for the Republican nominee for President of the United States to fully disgrace himself is for Trump to directly accuse Khizr Khan of being a terrorist. “Some people are saying…” It seems like only a matter of time.