In remarks to military veterans on Monday, President Barack Obama appeared to criticize Donald Trump for “talking trash” about America’s fighting forces.
The Republican presidential nominee has repeatedly called the state of the U.S. military under Obama a “disaster.” And in recent days Trump has harshly criticized the parents of a Muslim Army captain who was killed in Iraq after ensuring his subordinates were safe.
“As commander in chief, I’m tired of people trash-talking our troops,” Obama said at a convention for disabled veterans in Atlanta. “We have the most capable fighting force in history. And we’re going to keep it that way. [Enemies should] never doubt our strength and our resolve.”
Capt. Humayun Khan was 27 when he was killed by a car bomb while serving in Iraq in 2004. His father, Khizr Khan , spoke forcefully at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia about Trump’s rhetoric about Muslims. Holding a copy of the Constitution, Khan asked if Trump had read it and said he would lend him his copy.
The Khans are part of a group called Gold-Star Families, an organization composed in 2005 by family members of troops killed in the Iraq war.
“No one — no one — has given more for our freedom and security than our Gold Star families,” Obama said. “We have to do everything we can for those families. And honor them.”
The president isn’t the only national political leader who responded to Trump’s comments.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., issued statements Sunday praising the Khan family and criticizing the notion of banning Muslims from entering the United States. Notably, however, both GOP leaders did not use the name of their party’s presidential nominee nor outright criticize him.
Trump used a weekend ABC News interview to criticize Khan’s wife, Ghazala. She stood beside her husband on the DNC stage, but did not speak.
“If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” Trump said. “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”
Ghazala Khan used an op-ed to explain she was trying to keep her composure.