Donald Trump’s campaign issued a statement Saturday, praising the son of a Muslim American lawyer who criticized the Republican presidential nominee in an emotional speech at the Democratic National Convention.
“Captain Humayun Khan was a hero to our country and we should honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe," the statement said.
"The real problem here are the radical Islamic terrorists who killed him, and the efforts of these radicals to enter our country to do us further harm.”
The captain's parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, have come under criticism from real estate mogul for speaking out against his candidacy during the Democratic National Convention.
In an interview with ABC on Sunday, Trump defended himself and said Ghazala Khan stood by silently because she may not have been allowed to speak during her husband’s speech at the DNC.
Ghazala Khan responded to Trump directly in an op-ed in the Washington Post Sunday.
"Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything. That is not true. My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not," she wrote. "Donald Trump said he has made a lot of sacrifices. He doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means."
Trump also said Khizr Khan had no right to attack him when he offered to lend Trump a copy of the constitution.
“Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.”
After facing backlash, Trump reiterated the statement from his campaign in a tweet Sunday.
“Captain Khan, killed 12 years ago, was a hero, but this is about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR and the weakness of our 'leaders' to eradicate it!” Trump tweeted.
But he defended his criticism of Khan: “I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!”
The bereaved father has called on House Speaker Ryan to withdraw his support for Trump after the candidate's remarks about the family.
The House Speaker said Muslim Americans who serve in the U.S. military should be honored — "period" — and that he would reject any proposal that would require a religious test for entry into the U.S.
Ryan made the comments in a written statement issued Sunday, but didn’t specifically mention Trump. He also praised a U.S. Army captain, Humayun Khan, who was killed in a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2004.
"America's greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it," he said in the statement. "Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice—and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan—should always be honored. Period."
Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence called the captain an “American hero,” while defending Trump’s Muslim immigration ban.
“By suspending immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism, rebuilding our military, defeating ISIS at its source and projecting strength on the global stage, we will reduce the likelihood that other American families will face the enduring heartbreak of the Khan family.”
Trump’s comments have drawn anger from people on social media as well as from other politicians.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called on both Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to revoke their endorsement of the real estate mogul.
“Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan approvingly spoke at Donald Trump’s convention, endorsed Donald Trump for president and believe he is mentally fit to sit in the Oval Office," Reid said in a statement. "Occasional statements that do nothing to repudiate Donald Trump’s words and actions are spineless. Anything short of revoking their endorsements is cowardice."