The Wrath of Khan: How one Muslim family took down Donald Trump

There’s a certain poetry in the fact that potentially the most damaging blow yet to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has come from a Muslim-American named Khan.

As you likely already know, during the Democratic Convention last week, Khizr Khan, and his wife Ghazala, paid homage to their son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died at the age of 27, during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

But the Khans’ appearance was much more than that.

It was one of the first times that a Trump outrage actually stuck, and seemed to have legs. More so than the time Trump suggested that Mexican immigrants are rapist, and more than the time that Trump mocked a reporter with a disability. This time, the entire country seemed to rally around this humble, grieving family.

And the question is why?

First a quick recap of what Trump, and the Khans, said.

Trump, as you know, has called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, and Trump also spoke sympathetically of FDR’s internment of Japanese-, Italian-, and German- Americans. The Khans took issue with this, because, as they noted, their own son wouldn’t have been able to serve in the US military had Trump been commander-in-chief.

But the Khans went further:

If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims.

Khizr Khan, with his wife Ghazala, talk at the 2016 Democratic Convention about their son U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in 2004 in a car bomb in Iraq at the age of 28.

Khizr Khan, with his wife Ghazala, talk at the 2016 Democratic Convention about their son U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in 2004 in a car bomb in Iraq at the age of 27.

He [Trump] disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.

Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the US constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words liberty and equal protection of law.

Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America – you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.

You have sacrificed nothing and no one.

Trump had finally met his match.

Trump Khan Star Trek

Trump, per usual, was having none of it. He practically accused the Khans of making up their story, suggesting that they didn’t even write their own speech (they did), and then he made an odd comment about Mrs. Khan having remained silent while her husband spoke. Trump suggested it was because Mrs. Khan was a Muslim, and in his warped understanding of the faith, women aren’t permitted to speak their mind.

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” [Trump] said, “She had nothing to say… Maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

Mrs. Khan explained later that her husband, a Harvard-educated lawyer, had wanted his wife to say a few words, but she knew that if she spoke publicly about her son’s death she would break down in tears. Even though it’s been 12 years since his death, she still can’t do it.

Trump again attacked the Khans this morning, falsely suggesting that he opposed the Iraq war — in fact, Trump came out in favor of the war right before it started:

trump khan

For whatever reason, the Khans’ story went viral. And still, several days later, the Khans are doing TV appearances, and much of the country is discussing their very private pain.

U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in 2004 in a car bomb in Iraq at the age of 28.

U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in 2004 in a car bomb in Iraq at the age of 27.

I must admit to being a bit surprised that the one story of Trump’s excess to go super-viral would be his mistreatment of a Muslim-American family. We are a Christian country, though not in the way the Republicans often use the phrase. A majority of our citizens are Christians, and, in contrast to much of the rest of the developed world (Europe comes to mind), Americans still take their faith seriously. And at the risk of using a word that is far too overused, America is based on Christian “privilege” — the notion that we Christians are the only ones here, and the only ones who count. (The Khans are also dark-skinned, another potential strike against them when it comes to majority sympathy — or so one would have thought before this past week.)

But Americans are also, at their core, good people. And, to our collective credit, we saw parents publicly grieving over their patriotic son who had given his life for our country, and regardless of our politics, race or religion, they touched a chord and a nerve.

With everyone other than Donald Trump.

Trump’s latest latest barb suggested that the Khans had no right to criticize him:

“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, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things. If I become President, I will make America safe again.”

The US Constitution gives Mr. Khan that right.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis 


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in New York City, and is the cofounder of TimeToResign.com. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • Marina

    Americans are good people, because they take their faith seriously. Christianity stresses God’s love for all of creation without distinction. The equal protection clause of the Constitution is based on this idea, as is the response of Christian America to the sacrifice and sorrow of the Khan family.

  • Chuck Norton

    Kahn has been involved in the Clinton foundation and DNC tied immigration law firms for years. This isn’t about his son, this is about money. Also, the law is clear that religion is to be taken into consideration for immigration and the law has been that way for years. The religious test phrase in the Constitution is about running for certain offices, it has nothing to do with immigration….Kahn knows that and made a choice to present a lie anyways.

  • IndigoRed

    Delusional.

  • fcabanski
  • ksimms

    Most mainstream journalists are cowards. Always falling back on false equivalencies rather than pursuing the truth. They do this with both sides, btw. I’m voting for Clinton this time around and she has gotten off easy on some of the server and Clinton Foundation shadiness. It all pales in comparison to the evil and dangerous prospect of a Trump Presidency.

  • ksimms

    Nah, he and many more of our soldiers would be dead all over the world. Maybe in wars with some of our former allies started by the thin-skinned Cheeto Jeebus.

  • islanchief

    His feelings are more fragile than a butterfly wing. He has mistaken a battle of character as a battle of wits. He is unarmed in the former, and outarmed in the latter.

  • Jillxz

    Too funny. They havent taken down Donald Trump .

  • Yet, she did speak, on TV afterwards, and in a Washington Post op ed.

    Btw, how do Baptists feel about their wive’s speaking out?

  • The Facts Don’t Change

    Trump didnt make it about him he made a valid statement..ISLAM doesnt let women SPEAK moslems dont allow their women to speak thats a FACT..but instead of you fools getting his point you attack him and MADE IT ABOUT HIM…thats the funny part..Trump WINS AGAIN! :) #TRUMP2016

  • “. . . they touched a chord and a nerve. With everyone other than Donald Trump.”

    And Ann Coulter, who even got a slap from Erick Erickson for her tweet.

  • Lynettechunt4

    <<o. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::::!!bq200p:….,…

  • Badgerite

    He really is a sociopath. That is the way a sociopath would react. It is all about him.

  • Hue-Man

    I missed the part where the Khans incited the convention delegates to “Lock Him Up!”.

  • Gerald Parks

    The campaigning has begun, America is watching …and doesn’t like what in sees in the GOP/ Republican Nomine

    He got caught in FOUR different lies … TODAY!

    3 days in with 100 days to go ….and he won’t show US(America) his papers (tax returns)!

  • eYe2eYe2eYe2eYe

    klingons – a mutant race with a violent supremacist ideology – the dnc nailed the poster child example of a militant psychosis

  • S Galanter

    Of FFS, if Trump had been President in 2004, we never would have had to endure Celebrity Apprentice.

  • quax

    Your outstanding submission for the trolling of the year award 2016 has been accepted.

  • But if Trump was President in 2004, His son would still be alive.

  • Quilla

    Trump’s reaction is pathetic and I’m glad he’s being criticized on all fronts. Too bad ABC and George “I Play A Journalist On TV” Stephanopolous didn’t jump down his throat when those disrespectful words were first uttered.

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