The Veterans of Foreign Warsripped Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Monday for his comments aboutGhazala Khan, the mother of a fallen Muslim U.S. Army captain, who appeared at the Democratic National Convention last week.
"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," said VFW head Brian Duffy in a statement posted to the organization's website.
Khan and her husband, Khizr, appeared on-stage Thursday for the DNC's final night. Khizr chastised Trump in his speech, saying that under Trump's proposed Muslim ban, their son, Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in 2004 in Iraq, would not have been able to serve.
"If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America," Khizr Khan said. "Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership."
In an interview withABC, Trump said Khan was "very emotional and probably looked like a nice guy to me."
"If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me," Trump added, seeming to imply that Ghazalawas silent because the family is Muslim, and Khizrprohibits his wife from speaking,ABC reported.
VFW came out in support of the family, saying an attack on Gold Star families — a designation for families who lost a member in war — is "out-of-bounds."
"There are certain sacrosanct subjects that no amount of wordsmithing can repair once crossed," Duffysaid. "Giving one’s life to nation is the greatest sacrifice, followed closely by all Gold Star families, who have a right to make their voices heard."
On Monday, 23 Gold Star families penned a letter to Trump, demanding an apology from the candidate.
"Your recent comments regarding the Khan family were repugnant, and personally offensive to us," reads the letter, posted to VoteVets.org. "When you question a mother's pain, by implying that her religion, not her grief, kept her from addressing an arena of people, you are attacking us. When you say your job building buildings is akin to our sacrifice, you are attacking our sacrifice."
Trump took to Twitter Monday in response, saying that Khan "viciously attacked" him at the DNC, and said the story is about "radical Islamic terrorism," not "Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews."
I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2016
Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same - Nice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2016
This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2016