McCain, VFW shame Trump on Gold Star family

by Brent Budowsky

Every day the evidence mounts that Donald Trump, the presidential candidate favored by Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, is temperamentally, intellectually and morally unfit to be commander in chief of the American military.

The latest example of Trump’s disastrous ignorance and ideas about national security is his insulting treatment of the Gold Star mom and dad of the intensely patriotic and heroic Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in action saving the lives of others who were risking their lives to defend our country alongside him.

Today Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) added his powerful and nationally respected voice to the chorus of condemnation that Trump is receiving from leading veterans groups, who are expressing outrage and indignation against the billionaire’s insults of Khizr Khan, the fallen hero’s Gold Star father, and Ghazala Khan, his Gold Star mother.

In a deeply patriotic and passionate 697-word statement, McCain discussed at length his family tradition of military service and his outrage against the insults Trump directed against Khan’s mother and father. He also correctly noted that Trump’s extreme position against immigration of Muslims into America would have prevented Muslim-American heroes such as Khan from coming to America, serving our country and saving countless lives.

And I would add that many military and intelligence leaders, including David Petraeus, the retired general and former CIA director, have condemned Trump’s ideas against Muslims as providing aid, comfort and support to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and other terror groups that seek to attack America.

Also today the Veterans of Foreign Wars, one of America’s largest and leading veterans organizations, which represents those who wore the uniform over many generations, added its national voice to the condemnation of Trump’s insults against the Gold Star mother and father of Capt. Khan.

McCain, the VFW, veterans groups and patriotic Americans of all persuasions treat respect of Gold Star mothers as a sacred trust, which Trump violated — just the latest example in the litany of insults that he has directed against one group of Americans after another.

McCain continues to reluctantly support Trump and the future will tell if his support will continue; as the VFW’s statement notes, our respect and admiration for Gold Star mothers and fathers transcends all partisan and electoral considerations.

I do not support Trump. In fact I believe his insults against the Khans is only the latest example of why I and many others believe that Trump as commander in chief would be a major national risk to America’s national security and those who serve to protect and defend it.

Over the weekend the GOP’s nominee stated that Russia has not intervened in Ukraine, a false and ignorant statement that is universally known to be incorrect.

Not long ago he told The New York Times, doubling down on this statement since, that if Russia invaded Europe he would not come to Europe’s defense if he believed that European nations did not meet his standards of defense spending. It is unprecedented for any American president since the creation of NATO, Democratic or Republican, and for any leader of any European democracy, conservative or liberal, to state that the United States might not defend Europe from a Russian invasion and an attempt to establish a Russian dictatorship over any nation that belongs to NATO.

Trump has repeatedly stated that he would order American troops to commit acts of torture if he is elected, which some leading retired military commanders have already stated they would refuse to obey because it would constitute an international war crime and make American prisoners of war vulnerable to torture from our enemies.

Leading intelligence professionals now believe that Russia has embarked on an aggressive campaign of espionage and cyber warfare and information warfare against America designed to attack Hillary Clinton and elect the candidate they favor: Donald Trump.

Make no mistake. In the most important sense Russia is waging an undeclared war against America, conducted not with troops and bombs but with cyber warfare, to hack our systems and information warfare to leak information received through espionage, to help Trump, and to defeat Clinton, at crucial moments such as the Democratic National Convention.

After the Russian espionage was revealed, Trump took the inexcusable action of publicly supporting and encouraging this Russian cyber invasion of America, in this Russian attempt to help Trump become commander in chief. Trump repeated this view a number of times, and tried to retreat by laughably pretending it was just a bad joke.

Regarding this latest Trump insult against the Khans, the loud and rising chorus of condemnation may well force Trump to retract his comments. But whether or not this happens, what Trump said attacking and insulting a Gold Star mother and Gold Star father is one more example of why America should never allow his finger to be on the nuclear war button, and why voters should never allow a man with his temperament and vices to be commander in chief.

Brent Budowsky View more

Brent Budowsky
Brent Budowsky served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, responsible for commerce and intelligence matters, including one of the core drafters of the CIA Identities Law. Served as Legislative Director to Congressman Bill Alexander, then Chief Deputy Whip, House of Representatives. Currently a member of the International Advisory Council of the Intelligence Summit. Left government in 1990 for marketing and public affairs business including major corporate entertainment and talent management.

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