Trump asked GOP for backup on Khans, no one responded

By Stephanie Akin, CQ-Roll Call

WASHINGTON — As criticism mounted against Donald Trump on Monday for his treatment of an American Muslim couple whose son died in the Iraq war, his campaign sent an appeal to Republicans in Congress to back him up, according to media reports. No one responded.

Trump’s campaign circulated talking points for GOP supporters to spread via press releases, social media and cable news appearances, according to Reuters and CNN.

“We want to get several member statements out today on this, and would really appreciate your help,” Rob Wasinger, a onetime congressional candidate who has been working for the Trump camp on congressional outreach, wrote in an email to senior Senate aides, according to Reuters. A similar request was reportedly circulated in the House of Representatives.

The Trump script suggested shifting the focus from Trump’s comments disparaging Khizr and Ghazala Khan after their emotional takedown of his proposed ban on Muslim immigration at the Democratic National Convention the week before.

It was circulated shortly after statements from Arizona Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars condemned Trump. The episode drew renewed attention to the deep rift in the Republican Party over Trump’s nomination, though few mentioned Trump by name and no one went so far as to revoke their endorsement.

The Trump campaign asked Republicans to turn the conversion to “radical Islamic terrorism” and to blame Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan’s 2004 death — which happened while George W. Bush was president and before Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.

Instead of repeating Trump’s suggested arguments, several Republicans issued statements denouncing him and thanking the Khans for their sacrifice. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who had led the way with a similar statement Sunday, circulated a “must-see” photograph of himself holding up a pocket copy of the constitution, as Khizr Khan had done at the Democratic National Convention the week before.

Several GOP aides told CNN they were, “mystified that Trump continued the feed the storyline.”

Trump drew widespread condemnation over the weekend after he said that Ghazala Khan, who stood silently next to her husband during his convention speech, probably wasn’t allowed to speak because of her Muslim faith. Rather than back down, Trump continued to escalate the dispute, tweeting on Monday morning that Khizr Khan had “viciously attacked” him.

Talk to us

More in Local News

FILE - In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2018, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee is joining state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Democrats advance assault weapons ban, new rules for gun buyers

The measures passed a House committee without Republican support. They are part of a broader agenda to curb gun violence.

A person and child watch seagulls on the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Cold weather returning to Western Washington

Nightly temperatures in the 20s with highs in the 30s were expected this weekend. Cold weather shelters will be open.

Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times
Former VA-115 member Jack Keegan speaks at a presentation on base commemorating the last crew from NAS Whidbey Island shot down during the Vietnam War.
Whidbey Island air base honors crew lost in Vietnam War

NAS Whidbey Island will host several upcoming events commemorating the end of the Vietnam War.

New Monroe superintendent Shawn Woodward during his panel interview on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Incoming superintendent says he’s ‘done homework on Monroe’

Shawn Woodward has faced issues of racism, equity and inclusion as the leader of the Mead School District near Spokane.

James Lewis
COVID still ‘simmering’ in the county, while booster uptake remains low

Meanwhile, flu and RSV cases have plummeted, suggesting the “tripledemic” could — emphasis on “could” — be fading.

Everett police have made an arrest in a Saturday shooting at Player's Sports Bar & Grill. (Everett Police Department)
Charges: Everett bar shooting suspect faces up to 50 years in prison

Francisco Cuahutemoc Vazquez has a violent history that dates to 2015, when he was involved in gangs.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring is this year's winner of the Henry M. Jackson Award given by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Photographed in Marysville, Washington on April 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Marysville State of the City address set for Feb. 1

Mayor Jon Nehring will highlight 2022 accomplishments and look to the future. Questions from the audience will follow.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A move to require voting and a bicameral chasm on vehicle pursuits

It’s Day 19 and the mood is heating up as the third week of the 2023 legislative session comes to an end.

Lynnwood County Council candidate Joshua Binda is the subject of two complaints with the Public Disclosure Commission. (Josh Binda campaign photo)
Binda fined $1,000 for misuse of campaign contributions

The Lynnwood Council member’s personal use of donor funds was a “serious violation” of campaign law, the state PDC concluded.

Most Read