In the wake of Donald Trump’s bigoted attacks on the parents of a fallen Muslim soldier, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan issued separate statements on Sunday defending Khizr and Ghazala Khan while strangely failing to mention the Republican presidential candidate who insulted them.
“All Americans should value the patriotic service of the patriots who volunteer to selflessly defend us in the armed services,” wrote McConnell. “And as I have long made clear, I agree with the Khans and families across the country that a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values.”
Ryan similarly “rejected” Trump’s comments and proposed Muslim ban without directly criticizing the man responsible for both.
“America’s greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it,” wrote Ryan. “As I have said on numerous occasions, a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values. I reject it.”
“Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice,” Ryan continued. “Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice—and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan—should always be honored. Period.”
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Khizr Khan said Republican leaders had an “ethical obligation” to “not worry about the votes” and withdraw their support of Trump. But while McConnell and Ryan apparently find Trump’s actions and proposals to be un-American, they aren’t un-American enough to be a deal breaker.
“It is a moral obligation—history will not forgive them,” said Khan. “This election will pass, but history will be written. The lack of moral courage will remain a burden on their souls.”