The father of Muslim-American war hero Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, who was killed in action in Iraq, implored Republican leaders of the Senate and House to disown their presidential nominee, Donald Trump, once and for all.
Appearing in his living room with his wife on MSNBC, Khan stared unwaveringly into the camera with watery eyes and asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.): “Isn’t this time to repudiate Trump?”
“If your candidate wins and he governs the way he has campaigned, my country, this country, will have constitutional crises [like] never before in the history of this country, and my conscience compels me under these very difficult circumstances,” Khan said. “But 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. The only reason they’re not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundation, is just because of political consequences.”
Khan told Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” he will continue asking that question in the hopes that it gets a reply from the two leaders, who he called “patriot(s)” and “decent human being(s).”
New York Times journalist Maureen Dowd asked Trump to respond to Khan’s speech. All he said was, “I’d like to hear his wife say something.”
Trump expanded on his response on Saturday, when he told ABC News he’s made “a lot of sacrifices” but he failed to come up with a single example. Instead, he pointed to successes in business and made charity work claims.
Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong responded to Khan’s criticisms of Trump, but not the father’s plea that the speaker reject the nominee.
“The speaker has made clear many times that he rejects this idea, and himself has talked about how Muslim Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country,” she told The Huffington Post, referring to Ryan’s opposition to Trump’s Muslim ban.
Ryan was asked a month ago if Trump’s rhetoric and policy proposals struck at something bigger and needed to be rejected for the sake of the country’s health.
“If I lead a schism in our party then I’m guaranteeing that a liberal progressive becomes president and continues these policies that are extremely detrimental to our country,” Ryan said at a press conference. Pressed for a reason other than the Republican Party, Ryan added that “losing the Supreme Court for a generation” would be damaging.
McConnell’s spokespeople didn’t responded immediately to requests for comment.
Khan warned during his speech that if the congressional leaders do not disavow Trump ― who has proposed a ban on all Muslims, and construction of wall on the U.S.-Mexico border ― they will “sink the ship of the patriot Republicans.”
“Republicans are as patriotic as Democrats are,” Khan said. “They are half of the goodness of this beautiful country.”
He said it doesn’t make sense that the congressional leaders would continue to support a candidate they have condemned for his proposed Muslim ban and his attack on the Mexican heritage of a federal judge presiding over Trump University lawsuits.
Khan captivated the nation Thursday night with a searing indictment of Trump during a speech at the DNC in Philadelphia. He pulled out a pocket copy of the Constitution and, speaking to Trump, asked: “Let me ask you, have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” he said.“Look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.’”
As the crowd roared its approval, Khan continued: “You have sacrificed nothing.”
Khan’s son was killed in Iraq in 2004 by a vehicle loaded with explosives. The 27-year-old soldier had ordered his unit to stop while he alone moved toward the vehicle, saving the lives of fellow soldiers.
Watch the full MSNBC interview below:
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.