(JTA) — Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders referenced his family’s Jewish history in condemning GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s attack on the parents of an American Muslim soldier killed in Iraq.
“I’m Jewish. My father’s family died in concentration camps. I will do everything I can to rid this country of the ugly stain of racism,” Sanders said in a tweet Friday evening.
Sanders also tweeted: “Lots of hate is being generated against Muslims in America. If we stand for anything we have to stand together and end all forms of racism.”
Khizr and Ghazala Khan appeared onstage on the last day of the Democratic National Convention in support of Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the party’s candidate. Khizr Kahn in his speech said that Trump “sacrificed nothing and no one” and questioned whether Trump had ever read the U.S. Constitution. He also condemned Trump for his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Trump responded in an interview Saturday with ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
“If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me,” Trump said in a reference to the family’s Muslim practices.
Ghazala Khan in fact has spoken in several interviews about her son. The couple has said she chose not to speak at the convention because discussing her son’s death would have been too difficult for her.
In response to the question of whether he has made sacrifices, Trump said: “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve done — I’ve had — I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.”
Khizr Khan responded to the Trump interview saying: “Running for president is not an entitlement to disrespect Gold Star families and [a] Gold Star mother not realizing her pain. Shame on him! Shame on his family! He is not worthy of our comments. He has no decency. He is void of decency, he has a dark heart.”
Late Saturday night, Trump released a statement saying: “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 real problem here are the radical Islamic terrorists who killed him, and the efforts of these radicals to enter our country and do us further harm.
“While I feel deeply for the loss of his son,” the statement said, “Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things. If I become President, I will make America safe again.”