Donald Trump to Khizr Khan, father of slain U.S. Muslim soldier: 'I've made a lot of sacrifices'
Trump takes aim at soldier's mother for not speaking, Clinton campaign calls his remarks 'shameless'
Donald Trump rejected criticism from the father of a soldier killed in Iraq who said the Republican presidential nominee had "sacrificed nothing and no one" and questioned whether the mother was allowed to speak during the couple's appearance at the Democratic convention.
"I think I've made a lot of sacrifices," Trump told ABC News in excerpts of an interview posted on Saturday. "I work very, very hard."
Khizr Khan, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin and a Muslim, won widespread praise when he spoke Thursday at the Democratic National Convention, telling the story of his son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, killed by a bomb in Iraq in 2004.
He also attacked Trump for proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States and asked if the candidate had read the U.S. Constitution. He pulled out a pocket-copy from the inside of his suit coat, in one of the most commented moments on the night that Hillary Clinton accepted her party's nomination for president.
"Did Hillary's script writers write it?" Trump asked ABC's George Stephanopoulos in the interview.
Trump said Khan appeared "very emotional and probably looked like a nice guy to me."
He said he has, indeed, sacrificed by employing thousands of people, and raising "millions of dollars" for veterans.
"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," Trump said. "If I become president, I will make America safe again."
'Just let me say what I want to say'
Khizr Khan told the New York Times that the Clinton campaign asked if he needed speechwriting help or coaching.
"I said: 'I really don't, I have my thoughts in my head,'" Khan told the Times, adding, "'Just let me say what I want to say. It will be heart-to-heart'."
Trump also cast doubt on why Khan's wife did not speak.
"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 said.
Ghazala Khan told MSNBC on Friday that she chose not to speak because she still cannot bear to see her son's photographs.
'A new low'
Ted Lieu, a Democratic Congressmen in California and a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, blasted Trump for his comments.
"Slandering a mom and dad who lost their son in service of our country is a new low even for Donald Trump," Lieu told Fox News.
Hillary Clinton campaign spokeswoman Karen Finney called Trump's comments about the Khans "shameless."
Trump is truly shameless to attack the family of an American hero. Many thanks to the Khan family for your sacrifice, we stand with you.—@finneyk
Clinton said in a statement on Saturday that she was "very moved to see Ghazala Khan stand bravely and with dignity in support of her son on Thursday night."
Captain Khan and his family represent the best of America, and we salute them. <a href="https://t.co/MGeJXPF2DE">pic.twitter.com/MGeJXPF2DE</a>—@HillaryClinton
Clinton told voters gathered in a Youngstown, Pa., gymnasium late Saturday: "Donald Trump is not a normal presidential candidate. Somebody who attacks everybody has something missing."
"He attacked the distinguished father of a soldier who sacrificed himself for his unit, Capt. Khan," she said. "I think it is fair to say he is temperamentally unfit and unqualified."
Trump's comments about Khan came a day after he criticized retired four-star Gen. John Allen and slammed a Colorado Springs, Colo., fire marshal for capping attendance at the event.
The fire marshal, Brett Lacey, was recently honoured by the city as "Civilian of the Year" for his role in helping the wounded at a 2015 mass shooting at a local Planned Parenthood.
With files from CBC News and Associated Press