Gold Star father and Muslim-American Khizr Khan, who made a name for himself standing up to President Donald Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric and criticism of his family, slammed the commander in chief’s seesawing on North Korea’s responsibility for the death of Otto Warmbier.
“He has disappointed the nation,” Khan told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview Friday, rebuking the president’s lack of sympathy for the American college student who died after being imprisoned under dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime. “Basically, the element of that empathy is missing and without that, we will continue to go through this ordeal whatever time is left, whatever time we have to endure” with Trump in the Oval Office.
Closing his summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, with Kim on Thursday where no nuclear deal was reached, Trump said the dictator had told him he was unaware of how Warmbier was fatally injured in 2017 and that he took Kim “at his word.”
Having made himself the target of bipartisan criticism, by Friday, Trump defended his statements, tweeting that he had been “misinterpreted” and that he “of course” held North Korea responsible.
However, the seemingly endless parade of scandals and White House chaos under Trump’s administration wasn’t a shock to Khan.
“It was so obvious that this nation is being conned, is being misled, misguided, something that wasn’t there was being sold and the nation is finding out,” he said. “The disappointing part is that our Republican leaders, members of the Congress, they have forgotten their leadership, they have forgotten what their obligations are to the Constitution, to our democracy, to the rule of law.”
Khan made headlines at the Philadelphia Democratic National Convention in 2016 where he gave a speech in remembrance of his son and Army captain, Humayun Khan, who was killed in a 2004 Iraq car bombing while attempting to rescue other troops. Juxtaposing the story with Trump’s anti-Muslim smears, Khan then created a famous moment when he raised up a pocket-sized Constitution before the audience, asking the then-presidential candidate if he had bothered to read it.
Since Trump’s rise, Khan has become even more politically outspoken against the president.