By far, the most moving moment of the Democratic National Convention came when the parents of Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American war hero who was blown up by an IED in Iraq, ripped into Donald Trump for his noxious Islamophobia and asked him if he’d ever. Well, it turns out that had a lot more to say. And MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell gave them a chance to say it.
Khizr and Ghazala Khan sat down with O’Donnell for a special Friday night edition of “The Last Word.” Watch the full interview here.
Khizr appealed to the nation’s two most powerful Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to take off their red-tinted blinders and condemn Trump’s behavior. He said that Ryan, McConnell, and other Republicans had a “moral imperative” to rein in their presidential standardbearer.
“There is so much at stake, and I appeal to both of these leaders: this is the time. There comes a time in the history of a nation where an ethical, moral stand has to be taken regardless of the political costs. he only reason they’re not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundation, is just because of political consequences.”
A number of prominent Republicans and independents have come to the same conclusion as Humayun’s parents. The Houston Chronicle, a Republican-tilting newspaper, also came to that conclusion–and felt strongly enough about it that it felt compelled to issue an early endorsement of Hillary.
Perhaps the most moving part of the interview came when O’Donnell asked Ghazala how she felt about her family’s moment in the limelight. She revealed that even now, 12 years after her son’s death, “I cannot see my son’s picture.” There was a giant picture of Humayun on the video monitor at the Wells Fargo Center, and when Ghazala saw it, “I couldn’t take it.”
No doubt O’Donnell was prompted to ask that question by what has to stand as one of the most despicable things Trump has done yet in this campaign. He told Maureen Dowd of The New York Times that when he saw the Khans speak, his first thought was, “I’d like to hear his wife say something.” The message was obvious: Ghazala didn’t speak because Khizr didn’t allow her to speak.
Just in case anyone missed that point, Trump doubled down in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. Watch a clip here.
Well, now we have our answer. Ghazala didn’t say anything because she is still emotionally raw, like any parents would be after losing a son who fought for his country. Indeed, on a number of occasions during the interview, Ghazala broke down while talking about her son. If Trump is so blinded by Islamophobia that he isn’t willing or able to see that a Muslim Gold Star Mother can be just as emotionally raw as anyone else, he lacks the empathy to be commander-in-chief. Period, full stop.
I wonder if Khizr heard Trump smear Ghazala as well. He said that he didn’t think he could have gone on the stage in Philadelphia without Ghazala by his side.
I salute you, Khizr and Ghazala. You are true patriots, no matter what Trump and other Islamophobes may say.