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Self-Serving Truths

by Jeremy Holcombe

This weekend, Trump picked a strange victim. Trump homed in on Mr. and Mrs. Khizr Khan who had been critical of Trump in an address at the Democratic Convention.

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver, didn’t waste time expressing his disbelief.

“The takeaway from the last fourteen days is that amazingly we might be at ready to elect a warped, sociopathic narcissist,” said Oliver. “The simple duty of supporting parents of fallen soldiers may be past his abilities.”

Initially, Trump proposed that Ghazala Khan didn’t talk at the assembly because “her Muslim belief prevented her from openly speaking.”

Next, Trump insinuated that he has made sacrifices — on par with the Khan’s losing their son — by managing a company, putting people to work and erecting buildings.

George Stephanopolous, anchor for ABC News, in an interview with Trump, asked if those were indeed sacrifices. “I think they’re sacrifices,” replied Trump.

John McCain

Senator John McCain took his turn in condemning Trump’s treatment of the family. “I hope Americans know that the remarks do not represent the views of the Republican Party, its officers or its candidates,” McCain told The New York Times.  “While our party has given Trump the nomination, it is not accompanied by unrestricted license to malign those who are the greatest among us,” McCain said.

McCain, a Vietnam Veteran, and former-POW had also been ridiculed by Trump when the Republican nominee mocked McCain’s hero status.   Trump upended a Republican presidential forum by saying of the Arizona senator and former prisoner of war: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured? I like people who weren’t captured.”  Mr. McCain, a naval aviator, was shot down during the Vietnam War and held prisoner for more than five years in Hanoi.

While McCain’s statement, like those of other Republican leaders, fell short of retracting his endorsement of Trump, it was a detailed, personal and specific condemnation.

McCain’s family has joined him in being critical of Trump. McCain’s daughter, Meghan, went on Twitter Saturday and said, ‘I ask what kind of barbarian would attack the parents of a fallen soldier; oh yeah, it’s the same person who attacks POWs.’

Despite the growing criticism from Republican leaders, Trump has shown no sign of letting up on his clash with the Khan family. He has not retracted any of his comments and hasn’t answered the mounting criticism from respected Republicans.

On Monday, Trump continued to criticize Khan personally, protesting that he had become a ubiquitous presence in the news since his speech at the convention.

‘Mr. Khan who does not know me, brutally attacked me verbally from the DNC platform and is now all over television doing the same,’ Trump wrote on Twitter.

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