What Trump Can Learn From a Gold Star Family

Linda Chavez in The New York Times:

Chavez2-master315President Trump’s delay in reaching out to the families of four American soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month, and the ensuing discussion among Gold Star families about his actions, recalls an earlier controversy involving Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen soldier, who spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. On the final night of the convention, Khan took the stage with his wife, Ghazala, and in an electrifying moment, he pulled from his pocket a small copy of the Constitution. “Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future,” he said. “Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.” The crowd exploded in applause. Few people had ever heard of Khan or knew of the sacrifice he and his wife had made for their adopted country before the couple took the stage. Their son Army Capt. Humayun Khan was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign highlighted Captain Khan’s life and death in a short film that played before his father spoke. But the point was not just to honor the tragic loss of yet another brave American soldier; it was to repudiate the bigotry that had been spewing from Donald Trump’s mouth from the moment he announced his candidacy for president. Whether his target was Muslims or Mexicans, Trump had been insulting, taunting and threatening groups he disagreed with for more than a year, pledging to ban all Muslims from entering the United States and calling Mexicans “rapists.”

Khan had had enough. A Pakistani-born and Harvard-trained lawyer, a Muslim, but, most important, a patriotic, naturalized American citizen, Khizr Khan revered the Constitution. He came to Philadelphia to teach Donald Trump a lesson. Trump’s response was to pick on Khan’s wife, questioning why she was just “standing there” with “nothing to say,” adding that the Clinton campaign had probably written Khan’s speech for him. With his moving memoir, “An American Family,” Khizr Khan has disproved that calumny. “An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice” is as much the universal story of the immigrant experience in America as it is the story of one particular family’s struggles and sacrifice. Like most immigrants, Khan came to America seeking opportunity, in his case the chance to advance his education. When he arrived in Houston in 1979, Khan didn’t expect to stay beyond the time it would take him to earn and save enough to attend Harvard, which had accepted him for a master of law degree but whose tuition he couldn’t yet afford.

More here.