At first, a pro-Donald Trump crowd gathered at a town hall event Monday night in Carson City, Nevada, cheered for a mother whose son is serving in the U.S. Air Force.
But when the self-described “military mom” confronted Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s vice presidential running mate, over Trump’s attacks on a fallen war hero’s parents, the crowd quickly turned on her.
“Time and time again,” the woman said, “Trump has disrespected our nation’s armed forces and veterans. And his disrespect for Mr. Khan and his family ...”
Although the booing and sneering from the audience began to drown out her words, she continued speaking to Pence: “You’ve got a son in the military. How do you tolerate this disrespect?”
As seen in the video, the crowd taunted the woman, later identified as Catherine Byrne, even as she held up a photo of her uniformed son. Eventually, Pence stepped in to hush the crowd.
“That’s all right,” Pence said, adding, “That’s what freedom looks like, and that’s what freedom sounds like” ― a line he had used against protestors he encountered in Ohio on Friday.
After quieting the crowd, Pence thanked the woman for the service of her son and her family.
Pence went on to praise U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, 27, a Muslim immigrant who was killed in Iraq in 2004 while saving the lives of his fellow soldiers.
In a moving speech last week at the Democratic National Convention, the slain soldier’s father, Khizr Khan, criticized Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and said the businessman “has sacrificed nothing and no one.” Khan and his wife, Ghazala, have spoken against Trump several times since.
In response, Trump has claimed his sacrifices have included the construction of buildings and the creation of jobs. Trump suggested Ghazala Khan wasn’t allowed to speak during the convention and questioned whether Hillary Clinton’s campaign wrote Khizr Khan’s speech.
“Capt. Khan is an American hero and we honor him and honor his family,” Pence told the Nevada crowd, adding that the soldier’s story is an “incredibly inspiring” one.
But “having spent time with our nominee,” Pence said of Trump, “I have never been around someone more devoted to the armed forces of this country, more devoted to the families of our [service members] and no one more devoted to the veterans in our country.”
Bryne told CBS News that she liked Pence’s response about Capt. Khan and his family. But she said he didn’t fully answer her question about Trump’s disrespect toward the Khan family.
Pence’s answer echoed a statement he released Sunday on Facebook, in which he called Capt. Khan an American hero whose “family, like all Gold Star families, should be cherished by every American.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist