During a town-hall style rally Monday night, Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence faced a difficult question from one mom.
“Time and time again Trump has disrespected our nation’s armed forces and veterans — and his disrespect for Mr. Khan and his family is just an example of that,”Catherine Byrne, whose Air Force son is deployed in the Persian Gulf, toldPence. “Will there ever be a point in time when you’re able to look Trump in the eye and tell him ‘Enough is enough’? You have a son in the military. How do you tolerate his disrespect?”
At mention of Khazir Khan, a Gold Star family member who spoke at the Democratic National Convention last week, the crowd shouted boos over Byrne, but she continued to speak.
They boo’d me. Gov pence couldn’t hear me and asked the crowd to show respect. They took the mic.
— Catherine Byrne (@cebyrnecpa) August 1, 2016
When Pence finally quieted the jeers, he told attendees, “Folks, that’s what freedom looks like and what freedom sounds like.”
“Capt. Khan is an American hero and we honor him and honor his family,” Pence said. “The story of Capt. Khan is an incredibly inspiring story.”
The vice presidential nominee, whose son is in the Marines, went on to defend Trump:
“I have never been around someone more devoted to the armed forces of this country,” he said of Trump. There is “no one more devoted to the veterans in this country.”
Monday morning, the Veterans of Foreign Wars issued a statement to Trump, saying “Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression.”
Trump has since turned to Capitol Hill, asking lawmakers to issue statements of support to tamp out the Khan controversy, but it’s a move that’s only sparked growing concern among senior members of the Republican Party.