Donald Trump has no remorse about his prolonged hostility toward the family of a slain Muslim American war hero and appears to be ignoring advice to let go of the feud.
“Please remember, I was viciously attacked and all I did was respond to it and it ends up being a four-day story,” he later said in an interview with Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“I don’t regret anything,” the Republican presidential nominee told WJLA-TV on Tuesday. “I said nice things about the son and I feel that very strongly, but of course I was hit very hard from the stage and, you know, it’s just one of those things, but, no, I don’t regret anything.”
The GOP candidate’s war of words with the parents of fallen U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan began last week after the soldier’s father delivered a scathing reprimand of Trump during the Democratic National Convention.
Khizr and Ghazala Khan’s son was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004. With his wife standing quietly at this side, Khizr Khan criticized Trump, saying he “consistently smears the character of Muslims” and questioned what sacrifices the business mogul had made for his country and if he had ever read the Constitution.
Trump immediately lashed out at the Khans, even floating the idea that that Ghazala Khan had been forcibly silenced.
“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,” Trump said in a statement over the weekend.
The clash has brought Trump admonishment from both the left and the right. On Tuesday, Trump told the Washington Post that he wouldn’t be endorsing the upcoming re-election bids of two top Republicans, Arizona Sen. John McCain and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Both have chastised Trump’s belittling of the Khans.
Trump aides on Tuesday circulated a memo to campaign delegates urging them to express gratitude for the Khans’ sacrifice, but added that Trump had a “right to defend himself,” a person who received the document told The New York Times.
New Hampshire State Rep. Al Baldasaro, a retired Marine and Trump adviser on veteran’s issues, said Khizr Khan “disgraced” his son by exploiting him as a “political pawn.”
“Donald Trump has every right to challenge Mr. Khan because his personal agenda overruled his son being a warrior, and it’s shame that he did that,” Baldasaro told WBIN-TV.
“I’ve been bitching and complaining for a long time, stop using veterans as political pawns,” he told the Concord news station. “He’s a Gold Star father. I respect that. But he used his son for the wrong reasons.”
On Monday, The New York Times reported Trump did not serve in Vietnam because of four student deferments and one medical deferment due to bone spurs in his heels.
Trump told Fox News he did nothing wrong.
“I had some academic exemptions. It was a very minor thing,” he said. “They didn’t even talk about the draft number I got. I got a 356 draft number. The New York Times is unbelievably dishonest. They’re failing. It’s a failing newspaper. It’s losing a fortune — probably it won’t be around in two to three more years. They write and they keep writing. I believe if they write something wrong, I believe in fighting back a little bit. I don’t know if I should, maybe I shouldn’t. So far it has been working in all fairness.”
Khizr Khan seized the moment to denounce Trump again.
“You had the time. You did not serve,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. “You dodged the draft.”