Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to face a backlash, from both Democrats and members of his party, over his critical comments about the family of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq
President Barack Obama called Trump «unfit» to be president.
Key Republicans, including Senator John McCain, have also spoken out against Trump following his recent remarks.
Trump and Khizr Khan, father of a U.S. Army captain killed in a 2004 car bombing in Iraq, have been exchanging daily verbal broadsides since Thursday at the Democratic National Convention. There, the elder Khan cited the service of his slain son, Humayun Khan, to counter Trump’s proposal to restrict Muslim immigration to the United States. In what has become the most enduring image from the four-day extravaganza, Khan held up a copy of the U.S. Constitution and challenged Trump to read it.
Khan, a Muslim from Pakistan, was asked during an interview Monday with VOA’s Urdu service whether he thought anything useful would come from his feud with Trump.
«It really has come out … that a significant, larger number of Republicans are asking him to tone down, change those derogatory remarks about minorities –not only just Muslims but other minorities,» Khan said.
The attitudes of people who disparage Muslims and others, Khan said, «can only be conquered by setting good examples, being a good citizen of this country. Then, they will begin to realize that there’s no difference between them and us.»
Khan’s wife, Ghazala, stood silently while her husband spoke at the convention, prompting Trump to intimate that she was not allowed to speak because she is a Muslim woman.
Speaking in Urdu, Ghazala Khan said Islam teaches that husbands and wives are equal and that her husband said everything for both of them. She has said in other interviews that she gets emotionally overwhelmed when thinking about her dead son.
The grave of Army Captain Humayun Khan lies at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., August 1, 2016.
Trump’s continued belittling of the Khans has been denounced by President Barack Obama, as well as leading Republican Party members, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Gold Star Mothers. The group represents women who have lost a son or daughter in battle.
«I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers or candidates,» McCain said. «It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party. While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.»
Trump and running mate Mike Pence have called Humayon Khan, killed while facing down a suicide bomber in Iraq, a hero.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colo. , July 29, 2016.
Trump wrote in a Twitter post Monday that this debate is not about Khizr Khan, but about «radical Islamic terrorism.»
«Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over TV doing the same – Nice!» he tweeted.
Trump also told a town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio, that the entire electoral process is corrupt and that he fears the November election «is going to be rigged.»
Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, made no mention of the Khan controversy during her campaign appearance Monday in Omaha, Nebraska. She focused instead on the economy.
She challenged Trump and his financial and industrial empire to manufacture things in the United States instead of using factories overseas.
A spate of new polls show that Clinton has regained her lead since the Democratic convention. A new CBS News survey shows her leading Trump 46 to 39 percent in voter preference, while a CNN poll gives her a 52 to 43 percent lead.
Trump enjoyed a small advantage in the polls after the Republican convention in mid-July.