August 1st, 2016

Trump and the Gold Star Khans

I haven’t yet written about Trump’s reaction to the speech of Khazir Khan, the father of Humayun Khan, a Muslim soldier killed in the service of the US, although it’s been dominating the news for several days. I ignored it till now because Trump’s reaction was so dreadful, so revealing of his enormous flaws, that the entire incident reveals exactly why I believe the GOP (and about 40% of its voters) made a horrific mistake in nominating this man. In other words, it’s depressing.

But of course, it needs to be discussed; it really can’t be run away from. Nor can the hands of time be turned back and give us a do-over.

Notice what I’m not saying about the incident. I’m not saying this means Trump will lose, although I think that this particular set of reactions by Trump has more potential for hurting him than almost anything he’s done so far. Nevertheless, he still could win, because Hillary is just that bad.

But it didn’t have to be this way. Even Trump’s biggest boosters are finding this one hard to defend; it’s an unforced error of no small magnitude. It highlights one of the most salient things about Trump’s character, for better and for worse: his inability to let an insult go. That may make him “a fighter”—it definitely does make him a fighter—but it also reveals his pettiness, his lack of statesmanship, and cements the perception of him as a loose cannon and as a person who is practically unhinged. I can’t tell you how many people who were otherwise disposed to vote GOP this year who have told me that Trump frightens them very much.

Let’s briefly review some of what was said by Khan and Trump. Khan spoke at the Democratic convention, and here are some quotes from him about Trump:

Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities — women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.

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. In this document, look for the words “liberty” and “equal protection of law.”

Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.

You have sacrificed nothing and no one.

How did Trump respond? By ludicrously claiming his own “sacrifices” and by dissing Khan’s wife as a too-obedient Muslim:

In his first response to Khan’s charges, Donald Trump claimed that he had in fact sacrificed by employing “thousands and thousands of people.” He also suggested that Khan’s wife didn’t speak because she was forbidden to as a Muslim and questioned whether Khan’s words were his own.

“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,” the Republican nominee said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that will air on “This Week” on Sunday.

That latter statement of Trump’s gave Khan’s wife Ghazala the opportunity to explain that she didn’t speak because the subject is still way too emotional for her. And everyone who heard or read Khan’s speech understood, or should have understood, that the sacrifice he meant was one of blood. Anyone who has lost a child in the service of his or her country in wartime is on a level that other people have not reached (fortunately) in terms of sacrifice, and anyone with an ounce of judgment or decency would know better than to mount any other response to the issue of sacrifice than to acknowledge that fact. I haven’t seen anyone—even the most fervent of Trump’s supporters—defending Trump’s “thousands of people” comment about Trump’s own “sacrifice,” although I suppose somebody somewhere might be doing it. But it was that stupid, that offensive, that inadequate.

In the beginning of his campaign, Trump got away with something similar towards John McCain’s POW history. I believe that incident—and the fact that he only grew stronger after it—made him feel invincible in terms of criticizing military people or their families. I believe that he got away with his McCain remarks for several reasons, none of them operating here. The first was that he was dealing with Republican primary voters, not voters in a general election. The second was that a lot of people on the right detest John McCain and would forgive almost any criticism of him. And the third was that McCain is a grown man, a public figure, and he is alive rather than dead, having survived and prospered.

Grieving parents are a very very different story. But Trump was moved to take them on because he cannot stand, cannot abide, being dissed, and he is compelled by his own personality to fight back in any way he sees fit, even in stupid ways. This is not a recommendation for the job of the presidency. Whether most people would consider it a fatal flaw I do not know, but I can speak for myself: I was already very reluctant to vote for this man, and he’s making me even more reluctant, despite my detestation of Hillary Clinton. Simply put, the prospect of either becoming president is almost literally sickening.

There’s another thing wrong with one of Trump’s rejoinders to Khan. This one was embedded in an attempt by Trump to make things right [emphasis mine]:

Late Saturday evening, Trump issued a statement honoring Khan, but he also took the opportunity to deride Clinton. “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. While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, 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.”

Mr. Khan has no right to do so? In fact, he has every right to do so, and that right is protected by the very Constitution that Trump purports to have read.

What’s more, Khan never “claimed” that Trump has never read the Constitution. I’ve already quoted Khan; what he said was to ask Trump a question: “Have you even read the U.S. Constitution?” Now, granted, that implies it is highly unlikely that Trump has read it. But it doesn’t claim that Trump hasn’t. And Trump’s response indicates that Khan may be right in asking the question and in assuming that Trump either hasn’t read it, or has read it and not understood it, or has read it and understood it and thinks that one exception is that no one has a right to publicly criticize Donald Trump.

None of this is a good sign. Not one bit of it.

[NOTE: In the meantime, something tremendously offensive that Hillary Clinton said re the Benghazi parents has been eclipsed. However, what Clinton did was more subtle than Trump (and of course, the MSM is not interested in whipping up anger against her, so it has no reason to emphasize it).

Here’s Hillary’s exchange on the subject:

CHRIS WALLACE: One of the most dramatic moments in the Republican convention was when pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, one of the people who died in Benghazi, stood up before the convention and blamed you for her son’s death.

PAT SMITH: I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son. That’s personally.

WALLACE: She and the father of Tyrone Woods both say that on the day that their sons’ bodies were returned to the United States that you came up to them and you said it was all because of a video, not terrorism. Now, I know some of the other families disagree with this, and I know you deny it. The question is, why would they make that up?

HILLARY CLINTON: Chris, my heart goes out to both of them. Losing a child under any circumstances, especially in this case, two State Department employees, extraordinary men both of them, two CIA contractors gave their lives protecting our country, our values. I understand the grief and the incredible sense of loss that can motivate that. As other members of families who lost loved ones have said, that’s not what they heard, I don’t hold any ill feeling for someone who in that moment may not fully recall everything that was or wasn’t said.

Pat Smith and Tyrone Woods’ father were making a far more serious charge against Clinton than the one that Khan made against Trump. But note the difference in Clinton’s response. She begins with a lengthy tribute to them and their sacrifice. Then she calls them liars (or merely mistaken—knaves or fools) for not “fully recalling” “everything that was or wasn’t said.”

The implication is that she—the magnanimous, respectful Hillary—is calm and forgiving towards those who accuse her, as well as understanding, and that she is possessed of the more perfect memory that the others lack. The fact that she’s insulting them can get lost in the shuffle, because the response is quite masterful in the political sense. Whatever you think of her remarks (and I think they are self-serving and abominable), they convey the idea that she, in contrast to Trump, is no loose cannon. She is a person who thinks before she speaks. That is reassuring to those (and their numbers are legion) who are afraid of Trump’s emotional volatility.]

102 Responses to “Trump and the Gold Star Khans”

  1. Big Maq Says:

    Part of what this shows is that trump can get “baited” rather easily for a bad reaction.

    Now, put that in context of international diplomacy. Will trump get baited to draw a “red line” and, despite the folly (and better judgement of his “smart people” he hired), would he follow through so as to not lose face.

  2. Oldflyer Says:

    I certainly don’t want to get in the habit of defending Trump, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt when he said “he has no right”. Before every word was parsed for political impact, that was not an uncommon verbal rejoinder; e.g. “you have no right to call me a …”
    It had no constitutional implications.

    On the other hand, it is obvious that Trump is a political midget, or else his ego is so out-sized that he believes the normal rules of decorum do not apply. He would have company in either case.

    He may have been lulled during the primary campaign because the media loved his act. There is room for debate as to why. Was it just for ratings? Or did they see him as a potential sacrificial lamb for Hillary? Either way, that ship sailed once the primaries were over. Icebergs ahead. If he has not learned by now, and apparently he hasn’t, I see no hope for him. It is going to get tougher; he is going to be scrutinized even closer; and Hillary will get a free pass at every turn.

    The Koch brothers are putting their clout behind the Senate and House candidates. There seems to be some hope that those majorities can be preserved in the coming storm. There are still murmurs about a third party. Oh, how I wish. On the other hand, what if a losing one had a negative impact on the Congressional races?

    I hope that conservatives are not seduced by the Libertarian Party Candidates–who don’t even appear to be Libertarian based on their statements and records.

  3. Artfldgr Says:

    They will hate you if you are beautiful.
    They will hate you if you are successful.
    They will hate you if you are right.
    They will hate you if you are popular.
    They will hate you when you get attention.
    They will hate you when people in their life like you.
    They will hate you if you worship a different version of their God.
    They will hate you if you are spiritual.
    They will hate you if you have courage.
    They will hate you if you have an opinion.
    They will hate you when people support you.
    They will hate you when they see you happy.

    Heck, they will hate you while they post prayers and religious quotes on Pinterest and Facebook. They just hate. However, remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right that has a lot of people thinking about you.”
    ― Shannon L. Alder

  4. carl in atlanta Says:

    Very discouraging. The Donks laid out some nice juicy trap for him by using this gold star couple to attack him and he jumped right into the trap. And the MSM were all briefed and ready to go with it immediately.

    The only semi-credible defense I heard all weekend was that “Trump is just not a politician” (note my use of the qualifier ‘semi’).

    This gives HRC a great sound bite (and imagery) that will be used over and over again for the next three months. It’s as bad as (if not worse than) his mockery of the New York Times journalist with the chronic nerve condition which will also be replayed ad nauseam.

  5. Matt_SE Says:

    Mr. Khan is a proponent of sharia law. I would guess that his son disagreed with him on that point, but alas, he’s no longer here to defend himself.

    The Democrats set a trap for Trump, and he stepped right into it. He’s a loudmouth and a bully, and they played him for a sucker.

    This is what you get when your candidate can’t control himself.
    But at least he “fights,” huh?

  6. Yancey Ward Says:


    I am not quite sure this is Trump being completely stupid and ham-handed. Look at what Clinton’s surrogates and Khan himself are doing- they are again denying the connection between Islam and acts of terrorism. Is that a position one wants to defend to the part of the electorate that can’t decide between Clinton and Trump yet?

    Khizr Khan was presented to the convention to put a face on that argument- one the present administration and now Clinton are allin on. What happens if there is another Islamic linked terrorist attack in the US between now and November? Who seems to have the better argument at that point? No one is going to remember Khan 2 weeks from now except the progressive blogosphere. However, if there is another terrorist attack, Trump’s position is suddenly strengthened, and even if there isn’t, Trump is in a position to state forthrightly that it is he that is going to be the cold-hearted bastard who will do what is necessary to keep terrorists from getting into the country- to not let himself be derailed by the warm fuzzies one might have towards an Muslim individual who lost a son. However, lets see how it plays out over the next three months.

  7. neo-neocon Says:


    But that’s the point. That defense (sloppy speech, basically) is no defense at all. A president needs to use speech more exactly. What’s more, it particularly doesn’t work as defense in this instance because it appears to prove that Khan was right: Trump does not understand a lot of what’s in the Constitution. The subject matter here WAS the Constitution and the rights therein. “Right” has a special meaning when discussing the Constitution. Trump showed he’s not up to the task.

  8. Yancey Ward Says:

    And note to yourself exactly why you think this is bad for Trump- the media in a big uproar and full attack mode. This election is outsiders vs insiders. The electorate by a pretty large majority views the media as insiders. Counter-intuitively, you want the big media as your enemy this time around. Trump can’t win by winning over the media (not that he could anyway, being the Republican candidate). He needs to draw that line between himself and Clinton clearly. Like it or not, issues like a Khan are a way to do that, and I think it will be successful more than you might realize.

  9. jack Says:

    Trump took the bait and that was stupid.

    What he should have done was say … let’s read the US Constitution and the Koran (hadiths, sunna) together and see if they are compatible?

    Then not say another word.

  10. Dagon Says:

    There are three rules about people that I try to remember and live by (1) People are not good (2) People are not your friend and (3) People don’t care about the truth — they just want drama. I think there could be enough of these people to elect Trump. He sure could be elected president — no doubt.

  11. J.J. Says:

    There are two issues here and Trump didn’t recognize that.

    He could have said, “I sympathize deeply with the Khans. Their son was a hero who sacrificed his life for the country. I have nothing but sympathy for their sorrow and admiration for their son.

    Mr. Khan’s position on Muslim immigration is understandable. After all he is a Muslim immigrant and has made a good life here in the U.S. I don’t like to disagree with him, but in this case I do. It is my belief that we must temporarily stop immigration from countries where Islamic terrorism is a problem until we can find a way to properly vet those who wish to come here. I think most citizens agree with me. Let the voters decide in November.”

    That is what a practiced politician would say. Trump is no politician. But we knew that from the beginning. No doubt the Dems will continue to bait him in this manner. It could get worse if he doesn’t learn from this.

  12. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Yes, on the prior thread I agreed that Trump blew it and could have handled it far more skillfully. Unforced error. Handed the Left a tool, perhaps definitive with which to incessantly beat him.

    BTW & FWIW, compelling evidence is emerging that the father is a Muslim Brotherhood plant, an advocate of Sharia law and someone with long and close connections to both the Clinton Foundation and the Saudi government.

    But regardless of how unqualified and unsuited Trump undoubtedly is, IMO, it comes down to a simple choice.

    Trump: highly probable but potentially survivable disaster

    Hillary: guaranteed catastrophic collapse of constitutional law with the ‘tipping point’ on “The Road to Serfdom” then inescapable…

    The blowhard crony capitalist is, at this moment in history, inescapably preferable to the progressive/marxist in sheep’s clothing. Because when faced with either probable death or certain death, there really is no ‘choice’…

  13. jack Says:

    “BTW & FWIW, compelling evidence is emerging that the father is a Muslim Brotherhood plant, an advocate of Sharia law and someone with long and close connections to both the Clinton Foundation and the Saudi government.”

    That will never be revealed by MSM. Only voters that already in Trumps camp will ever be aware of this and if others even are aware of this … all you will hear are crickets chirping

  14. Artfldgr Says:

    It highlights one of the most salient things about Trump’s character, for better and for worse: his inability to let an insult go. That may make him “a fighter”—it definitely does make him a fighter—but it also reveals his pettiness, his lack of statesmanship, and cements the perception of him as a loose cannon and as a person who is practically unhinged.

    no, it marks him as a man with high testosterone who is not used to losing…

    you refuse to look at the alternative..

    what would happen if he didnt respond..

    what would happen if you realized that Hillary was using that poor couple and that most of what that man said was the democrat half truths…

    you fault trump for responding to a blatent attack
    but you dont fault hillary and others for putting those people up to that and not telling them what would come of it.

    why not send a weakling to hit a big man?
    the best the big man can do is tie..
    if the weakling wins, then they take him down a lot
    if he wins, then you dislie him for fighting back
    and if he ties, they will throw lots of weak people at him to tear him down..

    for a shrink you sure dont know how the game of winners is played.. maybe thats because your science is mostly about broken dysfunctional people who often have lives lesser than they could?

    when your a winner, you realize that when you back down, the wolves appear… its really THAT simple… and why they frustrate the rest of us by refusing to back down and instead fight.

    if he backs down and dos what you want, dont be surprised if he loses… because out in the world, every political group in every country will try to make it a goliath beats david game…

    your not looking at the larger picture

    This is How Winners Are Made – Inspirational [HQ] Best Speech Ever
    [edited for length by n-n]

  15. expat Says:

    You don’t even have to be a practiced politician to come up with a better answer than Trump You do need to be able to think before you open your mouth. Any commenter here could have come up with a better reply.It helps to know what you stand for and to have a bit of humility.

    I’m starting to see some similarities between Trump and Erdogan. Both will start a fight when they feel dissed.

  16. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Neo says that Mrs Clinton always thinks before she speaks. She must do that because she never, ever speaks the truth. She only says things that support the narrative that she believes will be her pathway to power. Her words have nothing to do with the truth. Her emotions are always fake. She is a fairly good politician, who has ridden her husband’s coattails.

    Trump is not a politician. His emotions get the better of him, and he blurts out things that are politically incorrect. I’m a long supporter of Trump, but even I cringe at times.

    But I can know and trust a man who speaks honestly, if crudely. I will never trust the smooth, crafted and deceptive lies of Mrs Clinton.

  17. Artfldgr Says:

    when bobby fischer played 200 kids at once, should he have thrown the games because they were kids, because they were not as good, or he shouldnt throw the games?

    Stacy Young???

    Chuck Young her husband signed a release, and said it was supposed to be fun… he lasted 29 seconds against the opponent

    his wife, stacy, signed the release, got into the ring, and ended up dead…

    At 240 pounds, Young outweighed her opponent by about 60 pounds. But in the first 30 seconds of the bout, family members knew it was an uneven match, said her sister Jodie Meyers
    The Toughman contest was started by businessman and boxing promoter Art Dore in Michigan in 1979. Men and women pay a $50 entry fee and compete for cash or trophies.

    should the person up against her just give in?

    should she have not chosen to go in?

    should the police arrest the boxer for murder?

    at what point are the people who choose to enter a fight not responsible for entering the fight?

    yeah, emotionally it may look bad, but you can bet that if the big guy or the other throws in the towel to such, there will be a long line of such the next day trying to win against the person that gives in!!!!

    oh, what an endless parade of leftist victims you would have to hear if trump didnt treat them as equals who voluntarily entered a ring of a very brutal electoral fight.

    and why shouldnt it be brutal fight? if the stakes are the USA and its future, shouldnt it be the most brutal fight since the deaths of the american revolution?

    how hard would it be if the elder couple wins to put up elder couples to call trump a bad name? its not that he doesnt take insults, he does… you just dont pay much attention to it when he ignores it, but he doesnt ignore the key fights that would lead to losing.

    sorry, but the Dems were CHEATING when they put that couple up and playing very dirty, and you got suckered right into the game of “oh, poor couple, why cant trump just let them win”

    then what?

    tomorrow another couple is put up, does he let them win too? does he let every weak sick couple the left can find to put up and say things win by default? why?
    [edited for length by n-n]

  18. Baklava Says:

    Narcissists don’t learn 😐

  19. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Agreed with a caveat. SuperPAC ads can bring those facts to the public’s attention.

    The issue is how poorly Trump responded, not whether he should have responded.

  20. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Of course Mr Khan was a Democrat plant. The Democrats have sought power for years by cynically trotting out, and using, aggreived minorities to cast aspersions on the opposition. Aggreived minorities are a protected class and are allowed to say anything, because the rules of political correctness do not permit us to criticize them. They have more 1st Amendment rights than do white males.

    “Muslim” is not a race, it is a religion (sort of). From what little I know of the bizarre rules of Islam, Muslims are prohibited from killing other Muslims. Nonethelss, rivers of blood have been shed throughout the Mideast for decades in a never-ceasing war between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam.

    So Captain Khan, reportedly a Muslim, died in Iraq while serving in the US military. He could well be seen as a hero, if he was fighting as an American patriot, in a war between America and Islam. But that was not what the Iraq war was about, and we don’t know Captain Kahn’s motives. Was he a “lapsed” Muslim who could join an army of infidels to kill other Muslims?

    Saddam Hussein was a cruel Sunni dictator in a majority Shia country. It could be that Captain Khan was a Shia, and that his motivation for fighting in Iraq was religious – to overthrow the Sunni dictator – rather than any American nationalism. IF that is the case, he is much less of the “hero” that served the Democrats’ cynical purpose. I do not know Captain Khan’s motivation, and lacking any responsible press in this country, I will have to somehow find that out for myself.

  21. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    It’s not that they can’t learn, it’s that they won’t learn because to do so requires facing the buried insecurities that give rise to their narcissism.

    Narcissism is a dysfunctional coping mechanism.

  22. TheOmnivore Says:

    There’s an image of Khan here in a suicide vest . . .

  23. Lizzy Says:

    I can’t defend Trump’s initial response, as he has a habit of saying something ill-informed and then clarifying in follow-up statements. He needs to be more disciplined on this.

    Frankly, I am sick to death of these Democrat games. I’m sure most (all?) here saw the trap as soon as the Kahn’s were introduced: welcome to Cindy Sheehan 2.0, with a side of Muslim victimhood. There’s nothing that Trump can say at this point to recover – the only thing that can change the narrative are more ISIS attacks here and/or in Europe.

    *Sidenote: ISIS is watching – they’ve already commented on the Kahns:

  24. Artfldgr Says:

    This is so much nicer than trump!!!????

    Hillary Criticizes Benghazi Hero’s Mom: She ‘May Not Fully Recall Everything’ [Video]

    Hillary Clinton criticized Patricia Smith, the mother of Benghazi hero, Sean Smith arguing that she “may not fully recall everything that was or wasn’t said.”

    In an interview on on “Fox News Sunday,” a clip of Smith’s speech at the Republican National Convention was played where she said that Clinton “looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video was responsible” for the attack in Benghazi.

    Clinton replied, “I don’t hold any ill feeling for someone who in that moment may not fully recall everything that was or wasn’t said.”

    Hillary Called Benghazi Mom a Liar, But Media Freak Out over Trump on Muslim Parents

    Now the media has dutifully weaponized the speech to attack him.

    Times, and again with former Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Trump was asked to respond to the speech, which Khan’s father gave while his mother stood silently. He told Dowd, “I’d like to hear his wife say something,” referring to the subordinate status of women in Islam.

    Trump said the same to Stephanopoulos, adding that Khan’s father, Khizr Khan, “looked like a nice guy to me,” and defending his own “sacrifices”* for America.

    In response, the usual freakout. Ezra Klein of, for example, wrote an article headlined: “Donald Trump’s slander of Captain Humayun Khan’s family is horrifying, even for Trump.”

    “oh the humanity… ”

    when bereaved Benghazi mother Patricia Smith spoke at the Republican convention the week before, one writer called it an example of “a longstanding Republican tendency of extreme overreach.”

    it was a “scary” appeal to the GOP base, “a new crossing of a line and an ugly degradation of a norm in American politics.”

    Another rushed to reassure readers that “no official inquest into Benghazi — and there have been many — has found evidence that Clinton is personally responsible for the events of that night.”

    Another cited Smith’s speech, and the audience’s reaction (“lock her up!”), “really disturbing.” And another argued that “spotlighting Smith felt a bit exploitive — and, at the same time, irrelevant.”

    basically Hillary does not have to comment back to any detractors, she has dozens that will do it FOR her and so say the bad thing, the disparaging thing, and then, you dont remember hillary saying anything bad

    but since the press wont stand up for trump, there isnt a bunch of articles comparing the republicans benghazi mom with the democrats muslim soldier parents

    Could Trump have been more gracious? Of course. But Clinton — whose negligence contributed to Sean Smith’s death — essentially called Patricia Smith a liar on national TV, and few in the media objected. Some, in fact, joined Clinton’s attack.

    The double standard is glaring, and tiresome.

    even more so when it works on people that should be smart enough to negate this for being a game to play with your head on both sides..

  25. Baklava Says:


    there is only one thing Trump can control. himself. but he can’t.

    he can’t control the double standard.

    he’s the worst candidate.

  26. Stu Says:

    I’ve reached the conclusion that nothing that either candidate says can be accepted at face value.

  27. Cornhead Says:

    The economy, foreign policy and the corruption of the Clintons should be Trump’s sole focus going forward.

  28. Steve D Says:

    ‘entire incident reveals exactly why I believe the GOP (and about 40% of its voters) made a horrific mistake in nominating this man.’

    A large portion of whom were Democrats and for them it was anything but a mistake.

  29. Oldflyer Says:

    We still read the opinion that Trump is better than HRC. That is not under discussion. All that matters now is whether he can win; or whether he will blow it and ruin the GOP as well.

    Neo, I understand your point; I only commented from Trump’s possible point of view; which is clearly skewed. You might note that I called him a political midget–I did not intend to insult midgets–I started to use the phrase “political idiot”, and that was probably a better choice.

    For those who defend him, the excuse that he is not a politician won’t sell. He inserted himself into the highest stakes political game around, and it is up to him to play on the field at hand, whether or not it is level. Not ready for prime time.

  30. Steve D Says:

    ‘has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution’

    I would be the very last person to defend Trump but when people use the term ‘no right’, they often mean moral right not political right. That is the way Trump meant it (as you can deduce from the context of his statement).

    OTOH, Khan’s accusation was rhetorical (and metaphorical), also not meant to be taken literally.

  31. neo-neocon Says:


    The choice is not between Trump’s actual response vs. no response at all. There are many possible other responses. Trump’s was particularly ill-chosen and also counter-productive. That doesn’t mean that he cannot survive it, but he makes his task that much harder.

    There are also many possible manly responses other than the particular response Trump choose. You are confusing bluster and offensiveness with courage, strength, and resolve.

    By the way, my note to the post goes into the Hillary/Benghazi statement. The Benghazi parents—who spoke against Hillary at the Republican Convention—were functionally more or less the equivalent of the Khans. The Khans appearing prominently at the DNC were tit-for-tat retaliation for the Benhgazi parents at the RNC.

  32. Bilwick Says:

    Of related interest:

  33. Bilwick Says:

    Also this:

    I don’t usually like the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler blog–his use of the word “cuck” tells me I was right to avoid his blog– but I think he’s on to something there

  34. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve D:

    As I wrote earlier, the context was actually whether or not Trump knows much about the Constitution. Therefore the word “right” needed to be used in the constitutional sense.

    But in fact, they have a moral AND a constitutional right to do it.

    Trump cannot abide criticism and he has never indicated he would defend anyone’s rights if they criticize him. Remember this? Trump’s denial of rights to those who would criticize him is a theme for him; this statement about Khan was not an accident.

  35. neo-neocon Says:


    In that post you linked, the Rottweiler is busily engaged in knocking down strawmen.

    What Trump said was offensive and also probably counterproductive, for the reasons I stated—none of which were at all the reasons the Rottweiler is listing. Those reasons he lists conform more to the criticism of Trump offered by the left, which is going to criticize Trump no matter what Trump says.

    My reasons are very different: pettiness, glorifying his own “sacrifice” (which was not even remotely comparable in any way), saying they had no “right” to say those things, and the fact that this is likely to hurt him with those voters who are still on the fence as well as some of his more reluctant supporters. It was an unforced error that called attention to the Khans and made further martyrs out of them.

    Criticizing Trump’s statements has nothing to do with glorifying the Khans; they in fact DID lose their son and they need to be respected for that loss. And to compare parents who lost a child serving in the military for their country to parents who lost a child (however tragic that had to have been for them) demonstrating for the Palestinians is an absurdity. There is no equivalence except that a child was lost.

    Criticizing Trump also has nothing to do with Muslims as a whole or whether Islam has something to do with terrorism. That was not the issue for which he is being criticized by people on the right.

  36. Ann Says:

    This is a deeply shameful episode in the Trump saga. Trying to spin it otherwise is even more shameful, especially any efforts to ruin the father’s, and even the slain soldier’s, reputation.

  37. expat Says:

    I saw a bit of Obama’s speech at a VFW (I think) gathering today. He said something about being introduced at the convention by a mother who had lost her son. He also talked about how much time he and Michelle had spent with vets (probably not as much as with Beyonce). I may have some of the facts mixed up here, but I had this impression that the fallen vets theme was all preplanned for the convention even before Khan to set Trump up. Kind of a look how much we Dems care about our vets thing. I suspect they have a team of psychologists proposing ways to best push Trump’s buttons.

    Somebody needs to get out that duct tape for his mouth quickly and maybe put a cast over his fingers so he can’t tweet. Next thing you know he’ll be talking about how much better Melania looks than Merkel.

  38. KLSmith Says:

    Call me an idiot, but I’m pretty convinced now that Trump is running to ensure Hillary ‘s victory. I never bought into the, Tump is a genius argument, but even he can’t be this stupid. Has to be deliberate. This whole election is a goatscrew.

  39. neo-neocon Says:


    I’ve never ascribed to that theory and still don’t, but I completely understand why a person would.

    However, I think other things drive him. The first is ego. He wants to win and thinks he will win, no matter what he does. The second is emotion; he cannot let an insult go unanswered, and he always tries to strike back hard and he doesn’t mind sounding dirty or stupid as long as he feels he’s hitting back hard. He’s been doing it his whole life and gotten away with it, and believes it is best for him.

    He wants to win, but if he loses he’s still stuck it to the pundits and defied everyone’s expectations, and gained millions of admirers. For him, that a win, too. He will land on his feet no matter what. So Trump will continue to be Trump.

  40. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    The amazing thing is that Trump cannot see outside of himself far enough to realize how easily he could have turned this to a gracious testament to his inner feelings and thoughtfulness. Opportunities to gain allies become threats “you have no choice but me. Think of the supreme court” as if by holding the court above voters like a sword he will get their support. The same for former Cruz voters, moderates and others while he chases Sanders zealots? Today he was speaking in upstate NY as if he had any chance of carrying his home state. He may lose in states that Romney won, while chasing wild dreams in New Jersey. Like his casinos he will always believe his campaign was a great success but the game was rigged.

  41. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    Is exposing the facts about the father’s prior and current associations, which call into question his motivations and agenda… “efforts to ruin his reputation”?

    “Khizr Khan’s Deep Legal, Financial Connections to Saudi Arabia, Hillary’s Clinton Foundation Tie Terror, Immigration, Email Scandals Together”

  42. J.J. Says:

    Here’s a pretty comprehensive answer to the Khans and their disagreement with Trump’s immigration policies. I think it’s pretty good. Would that Trump had this man as an advisor.

  43. Kyndyll G Says:

    I wouldn’t question for a moment that the Khans have suspect connections. That doesn’t change that Trump didn’t have to respond in this way, and that we can continue to expect him to behave this way at every turn, in response to everyone and everything.

    This is what we warned the Trumpists about weeks ago.

    Most functional, normally socialized human beings have a self-censor that keeps them from blurting the first crass thing that drifts through their mind at any and every opportunity, but the people who actually like Trump seem to have confused Trump’s absence of such as a wonderful blow against political correctness.

    Political correctness is not the same thing as behaving like someone who doesn’t eat in a barn. And if Trump is going to be an idiot every time any random person comes along and calls him “chicken”, he has no business running for, much less being, president.

  44. parker Says:

    Trump has to be trump its the only thing he knows. Nothing will change in his conduct, he is nearly 70 and has been a supremely narcissistic *#^hole from probably starting at age 2. He will become ever more outrageous (and demented) during the next 3 months. IMO, this YUGE ignoramus does not want to be POTUS. His ‘campaign’ is a charade to boost his brand name.

    Hmmm… the steaks, water, vodka, university all failed so I see coming in December THE DONALD video game/movie.

  45. Richard Saunders Says:

    Trump needs somebody – probably one of his kids, they all seem much more sensible than he — to sit next to him every minute and say “Dad, you can’t tweet that” and “Dad, you can’t say that.” Kind of like the slave who stood behind the Roman Emperor and whispered, “Remember, you are mortal” into his ear.

  46. Jim Miller Says:

    If Donald Trump had read the Constitution recently, he would know that it doesn’t have an Article XII.

    (If that’s obscure, do the obvious search.)

    Whether he has ever read the Constitution or not, it is absolutely clear that he doesn’t understand its Madisonian design.

  47. Paul Snively Says:

    I’d care a whole lot more about this episode if “Muslim parent of dead soldier speaking at DNC” didn’t instantaneously engage my gag reflex. At no point since the Vietnam War has any military figure being even remotely associated with the Democratic Party been anything other than a transparently self-serving cynical ploy, and to buy into it is to broadcast via microwave that you’ve put your critical faculties on hold and are entirely in the tank for some single issue, other than national defense, that you are waving the Democratic flag for. It is that simple.

    Neo, I’ve been reading you for years, as you may recall, and as far as I’m concerned, you can scratch the “almost” from “physically ill.” We have no good options. But the plain fact is that we have, in Trump, a highly questionable option, and in Clinton a known disastrous option. I wish it were otherwise, and I fear, and pray, for our nation. But the calculus is simple to the point of being trivial: Clinton, and the feckless, mendacious, cynical crime-syndicate-masquerading-as-a-political-party Democrats (my apologies to the millions of historic Democrats of good conscience) must be stopped at literally all costs. Then, and only then, can we explore how to rebuild a future of classically liberal governance, economics, and civic institutions to restore the republic and serve our entire citizenry—one that, by definition, will not resemble either a Trump or a Clinton administration.

  48. Ira Says:

    Trump blew an EASY opportunity to actually score points in his favor following Khazir Khan’s speech. All he had to do is say the following few words or something similar:

    America has been blessed by brave young souls like Captain Humayun Khan. The sacrifice made by the Khans and families like them are unlike any other.

    Because of the sacrifices made by a minority of American families, the families of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines like Captain Humayun Khan, the majority of us Americans, who like Hillary Clinton and myself have not made such a sacrifice, enjoy freedom, liberty and the ability to pursue happiness like nowhere else in history.

    Sure, at 483 characters, 4 consecutive tweets would have been necessary. But a whole lot of opportunity for stupid explanations would have been avoided, and Trump would have elegantly shown that Hillary should have been included in Khazir Khan’s accusation.

  49. Steve D Says:

    ‘Therefore the word “right” needed to be used in the constitutional sense.’

    It’s a rhetorical device, nothing more. Trump is certainly a tyrant but this statement is only evidence that he lacks a sense of irony.

  50. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve D:

    I disagree. When you’re talking about your own knowledge of the Constitution, the word “right” is not a rhetorical device. Whether or not Trump realized the irony of his statement, it was deeply ironic in that it either exposed his lack of knowledge of what a right is, or it demonstrated his lack of support for the concept of rights.

  51. Brian Swisher Says:

    Nice display of verbal jiu-jitsu.

    Too bad Trump is a hammer.

  52. parker Says:


    Trump and “focus” in the same sentence does not compute. Perhaps you should take a tour of Nebraska with Sasse and observe dumpster fires to “see the light”.. 😉

  53. parker Says:

    Brian Swisher,

    Not just a hammer, but a sledgehammer of idiot blather. Meanwhile, watch out for article 13 or whatever vomits from the mouth of the donald.

  54. Stark Says:

    By this time Trump supporters should have realized that is just not very smart. He demonstrates his intelligence level daily by not learning from his mistakes. He does not appear to be improving his political game in response to public reaction to his pitch.

    Still he probably is a better choice than the despicable “pay to play” above the law actions of Hillary Clinton.

  55. Nick Says:

    OK, seriously…where’s the bait?

    A convention has a hundred speakers, all of whom criticize the other side. Did Trump not know that? Why should anyone consider the Khans “bait”? Did Trump not know that grieving parents of a war hero are off-limits? This is basic human civilization here. Joe Pesci in Goodfellas would know better than to go after them.

    I doubt that the Democrats even thought much about the Khans. They’re just another category for them to check off. No one would have thought, “let’s send up a Muslim Gold Star family, Trump will definitely make fun of them”. That’s not part of a political playbook because no one’s ever run against a candidate as vile as Trump. He’s like a crazed dog. You can lure him away with a steak, but he’ll just as soon shred an old tire.

  56. Adrian Day Says:

    The whole DNC bit with Khizr Muazzam Khan which I watched in real time had a very bad smell to me, him with his little pocket constitution was just too perfect. Don’t like Donald Trump and if he were smarter he could have played this one better but I do not think this man is what he appears to be. We are on the precipice of PC-ing our way to a very sad end.

  57. n.n Says:

    To suppose that individual performance is exemplary of a philosophy. Principles precede the individual, but the individual does not speak for the principles. Khan’s testimony is anecdotal evidence of his son’s convictions and nothing more.

    Pro-choice notwithstanding, which is a religious/moral philosophy pulled from the twilight zone.

    Meanwhile, progressive wars, opportunistic regimes changes, mass exodus (e.g. refugee crises), anti-native policies, progressive debt, class diversity schemes, abortion rites, etc.

    The bait was not laid for Trump alone. Americans, Europeans, Christians, and, yes, Jews, have taken the bait. Israel, in particular, will be condemned for apartheid (i.e. separation). Americans will be condemned for lack of class diversity (e.g. race, sex, skin color), phobias of selective exclusion (e.g. “=”), pro-native policies, restriction of abortion rites, etc.

    Democrats have a Pro-Choice (i.e. selective principles) problem, but not if people will so readily sacrifice theirs.

  58. parker Says:

    Khan was a plant. But djt, an arrogant, megalomaniac took the bait. Djt is a fool who rushes in and then doubles down.

  59. n.n Says:

    I wonder if Democrats have a renewed respect for the military, police, border guards… for human life? Probably not. They are notoriously selective and opportunistic, and the consequences of their anti-native polices precede them in the Middle East, Europe, and America.

  60. n.n Says:

    It’s revealing that the fear and loathing of Obama is only exceeded by the fear and loathing of Trump.

  61. AMartel Says:

    Obviously Khan the Younger’s sacrifice was the ultimate sacrifice. That should go without saying. We are grateful. That should go without saying, too. Anyone who dies in military service has made a sacrifice that none of the rest of us can hope to equal.
    Parents who use their dead son as a political talking point are not off limits. Just ask Sean Smith’s mom.
    Khan the Elder took a political position and used his son’s sacrifice as fuel for his fire. He attacked Trump. He made claims that are arguably not consistent with fact. He’s not off limits. Nor his wife who stood next to him. You get down in the mud with politicians you’re going to get mud on you.
    So STOP whining.
    And Republicans should STOP apologizing. Even Trump.
    Don’t accept this story as it is spoon fed to us by the media. Don’t give it credibility by groveling.
    Mr Khan stood on that stage and helped the Dems with their political fictions. Even though Clinton is the candidate who was in favor of the Iraq War. His little show is phony and fraudulent and he’s using his dead son to promote himself.

  62. AMartel Says:

    Trump should have asked Little Georgie Stephanopoulos what sacrifices he has made. “What sacrifices have you made because I’m pretty sure that neither one of us can ever equal the sacrifice made by those who have died in military service.”
    Except I’m pretty sure no one really wants to know the answer to that one.
    First rule of political interviews: Always question the premise.

  63. Ira Says:

    Great rule, AMartel.

    Stephanopoulos might have replied, “Well, Vince Foster.”

  64. OM Says:


    Regarding the interview with Stephie. You are expecting Trump to think before he hoists his own petard?

    Trump fights alright, today he is back to fighting against Ted Cruz.

    Masterful at it,he is. (channeling Yoda)

  65. AMartel Says:

    I am not a Trump fan or a Trump apologist. I just happen to loathe the media and their vile candidate du jour. They are the enemy. They represent the Great Rip Off. The Big Lie. Enough. They don’t play by the rules so, fine, jungle rules it is. They’ve played this card before and everyone bowed and scraped and groveled to Cindy Sheehan and what did it get us? Nothing. It just allowed them to drive home their fiction about the Gulf War while blithely ignoring their own role in it.

  66. AMartel Says:

    And then the left disposed of Cindy Sheehan when she was no longer politically expedient. And she couldn’t get good press or any media attention.

  67. AMartel Says:

    Apparently this Khan man is somehow dialed in to Clinton’s Saudi interests.

  68. AMartel Says:

    A dispassionate, objective media would report on this. For the dem steno pool media, though, he’s just this election cycle’s cut-out grieving parent. Haven’t heard from any of those in about 8 years. Hmm. Wonder why? (Other than the Benghazi parents and you only ever heard from them thru right wing news sources.)

  69. Jim Miller Says:

    Thanks to Neo for doing the work this time.

    Cleaning up after Trump is a dirty job, but someone has to do it. (I’ve compared it to being assigned to follow and clean up after an incontinent horse in a parade.)

    I do a few of these clean-up jobs myself because some of the people who should be doing them — Drudge, for instance — aren’t.

    But they aren’t my favorite kind of posts.

  70. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Khan’s purpose was to counter Trump’s call to put in place a temporary ban on Muslim migration by making it ‘unamerican’ to advocate for that ban.

    Trump’s response strengthens the dem’s deceitful position. Now the media can assert that anyone in favor of a ban is solely motivated by bigotry.

    The polls already reflect that dynamic.

  71. Eric Says:

    “Even though Clinton is the candidate who was in favor of the Iraq War.”

    Hillary Clinton was right to vote for the 2002 AUMF. She was wrong to ‘evolve’ about her 2002 Senate vote by blatantly misrepresenting the AUMF instruction and OIF’s legal-factual basis.

    “They’ve played this card before and everyone bowed and scraped and groveled to Cindy Sheehan and what did it get us? Nothing. It just allowed them to drive home their fiction about the Gulf War while blithely ignoring their own role in it.

    You put your finger on the proper rebuttal to the Democrats’ exploitation of gold-star parents like SPC Sheehan’s mom and CPT Khan’s mom and dad.

    Don’t counter-attack by targeting the gold-star parents (nor our honored heroic dead) as such. Trump was wrong to do that.

    As you put your finger on it, the proper rebuttal by the GOP is, first step, set the record straight in the political zeitgeist on the why of OIF to correct “their [Democrats’] fiction about the Gulf War”.

    Re-lay the foundation of the Iraq issue at the premise level of the political discourse. Clarify that President Bush’s decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom was demonstrably correct on the law and facts, while the Democrats sabotaged SPC Sheehan and CPT Khan’s mission with a demonstrably false narrative of OIF.

    Establish that SPC Sheehan and CPT Khan served – and died – in Iraq for an honorable, humane, lawful, and just cause consistent with the fundamental principles of American leadership of the free world.

    On the re-set foundation, second step, clarify that CPT Khan served – and died – in the OIF peace operations mandated “to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq … and key humanitarian and economic infrastructure” (UNSCR 1511).

    As such, the subsequent OIF Surge+Awakening honored and upheld SPC Sheehan and CPT Khan’s mission and sacrifice to build the peace with Iraq.

    Whereas Clinton, Obama, and the Democrats endeavored to sabotage SPC Sheehan and CPT Khan’s mission of peace and subsequently wasted their sacrifice by contravening the Strategic Framework Agreement (2008).

    Third step, with full appreciation for our honored heroic dead and respect for their gold-star parents, focus that appreciation and respect to enflame the nation’s righteous anger at the Democrats, including and especially Clinton and Obama, who sabotaged SPC Sheehan and CPT Khan’s mission of peace, wasted their sacrifice, and then have had the sociopathic gall to exploit their grieving parents.

    As AMartel points out regarding the Democrats’ treatment of SPC Sheehan’s mom, highlight the Khans are victims of the Democrats’ exploitation of gold-star parents, which is obscene in light of the Democrats’ sabotage of their sons’ mission of peace and waste of their sons’ sacrifice.

    That’s the proper rebuttal by the GOP.

    The problem is the GOP and Trump have been cut off from the proper rebuttal because Republicans chose to run away from the false narrative of OIF rather than re-litigate it to set the record straight and Trump misrepresents the why of OIF like the Democrats.

  72. Eric Says:

    Oops. Fix:
    On the re-set foundation, second step, clarify that SPC Sheehan and CPT Khan served – and died – in the OIF peace operations mandated “to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq … and key humanitarian and economic infrastructure” (UNSCR 1511).

  73. Eric Says:

    Yancey Ward:
    “He needs to draw that line between himself and Clinton clearly. Like it or not, issues like a Khan are a way to do that, and I think it will be successful more than you might realize.”

    If we ascribe his tack to canniness rather than volatility, then it’s recognizable that Trump’s rhetoric routinely accords with alt-Right and Russian propaganda, inasmuch as the two are distinct.

    The Trump phenomenon is a creation of alt-Right activists, and Trump appears to be relying on that relationship to carry his campaign, like Obama was carried to the Presidency by Democrat-front Left activists rather than the Obama campaign foremost.

  74. AMartel Says:

    Wasn’t saying Clinton’s vote was wrong – though I don’t doubt for one second that it was motivated solely by political expediency – just pointing out that if the 2 candidates Khan sides with the one that voted for the Iraq War.

    We are being armchair quarterbacks about this. It’s hard in the moment to come up with a good riposte, especially when the media hack isn’t scripted in advance by your campaign. I.e., especially when you are a Republican. A good rule is to always question the premise of your interrogator. “Why is he asking me about my sacrifices?” leads immediately to the realization that that is a ridiculous question to ask in the context, he’s just cueing off the use of the term by the Dems’ fatted calf of the moment, which then leads to why not turn it around on him. Obviously, the hack would then say well you’re the one running for president and then you say and you’re the one interviewing the president and neither one of us compares to Khan the younger in terms of sacrifice. Examining the premise buys you time to, dare I say, THINk. And it puts the morons on defense.

  75. AMartel Says:

    Eric, I agree that Trump’s loud lout* supporters have this wrong idea that Trump is going to be Obama 2.0. A phenomenon that we simpletons just don’t understaaaand. They really hate when this is pointed out, that they’re just like the fawning Obamabots who faint in The Presence. Call him Orangebama early and often and watch them foam at the mouth. It’s fun. They have a special hatred-still!-for Cruz and any other primary opponent who betrayed The One. But I don’t think it’s just those people who support Trump, not by a long shot, and it’s because of incidents like this one – the same tedious media ploys removed from mothballs and rolled out onto the stage for yet another phony self-congratulatory encore.

    *I refuse to use the term “alt right.” It’s like the term “neocon” in that the definition is amorphous and depends on the speaker. Also, it lends way too much credibility.

  76. Ann Says:

    Bret Stephens nails it:

    Of all of Donald Trump’s vile irruptions—about Sen. John McCain’s military record, or reporter Serge Kovaleski’s physical handicap, or Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s judicial fitness—his casual smear of Ghazala Khan is perhaps the vilest.

    This isn’t simply because Mrs. Khan is a bereaved mother. Bereavement alone does not place someone above criticism, especially when it comes to political differences. Nor is it because Mrs. Khan’s son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, died heroically to protect his troops in Iraq. The special deference given to Gold Star parents is, at bottom, a social convention.

    No: What makes Mr. Trump’s remarks so foul is their undisguised sadism. He took a woman too heartbroken and anxious to speak of her dead son before an audience of millions and painted a target on her. He treated her silence as evidence that she was either a dolt or a stooge. He degraded her. “She was standing there. She had nothing to say,” Mr. Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

    In this comment there was the full unmasking of Mr. Trump, in case he needed further unmasking. He has, as Humayun’s father Khizr put it, a “black soul.” His problem isn’t a lack of normal propriety but the absence of basic human decency. He is morally unfit for any office, high or low.

  77. AMartel Says:

    Have you no decency, sir?
    Right on cue.

  78. AMartel Says:

    It’s been done.
    To death.

  79. Sergey Says:

    Neo, you continue to make the same mistake: supposing that Trump voters see things just as you do. But this is not so. Even what you see as Trump negatives are appealing to them. Yes, he is a loose cannon. He has overblown ego, he despises all rules of decorum. But public admires him exactly for all this!
    Living in liberal bubble, it is hard to grasp reaction of flyover country. But look at what actually happens again and again: every Trump’s “gaffe” which all pundits predict will bury him, in reality multiplies his appeal. This is protest election, its real motto is “I am mad as hell and I will not take it anymore.” Only future will tell how many buyers are for this attitude. We probably will not know the results until last ballots would be counted and reported.

  80. Big Maq Says:

    “Is exposing the facts about the father’s prior and current associations, which call into question his motivations and agenda… “efforts to ruin his reputation”? (link to Breitbart article called “Khizr Khan’s Deep Legal, Financial Connections to Saudi Arabia, Hillary’s Clinton Foundation Tie Terror, Immigration, Email Scandals Together”)” – GB

    Several have made claims here that Khan is some kind of “plant” with some alterior motive / agenda. Few provided any links to back that up. However, this one did, so cannot let it slide.

    Unfortunately, actually read that article at Breitbart, and as one would objectively expect from a trump fanboy site, it was long on innuendo and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon style of guilt by association, very short or null on actual core facts that prove anything.

    There are some good arguments to be had on the content of Khan’s speech, but few here are arguing that.

    There is lots of speculation about the Khans’ character and motivations, much of it by association to their faith, which happens to be on the “wrong side” at this point in time.

    This all avoids the issue that trump got baited into a reaction that essentially highlights his weakness.
    “Trump’s “gaffe” which all pundits predict will bury him, in reality multiplies his appeal” – Sergey

    One does not need to live in a “liberal bubble” to see that what he said (and doubled down on) is a losing proposition.

    Sure, it may play well to the people that have long supported him, but that misses the point. trump doesn’t need to appeal to the support he already has (~40% of the people already motivated to vote in GOP primaries – a small subset of the overall population), but to the swing voters.

    One “gaffe” usually doesn’t make or break a candidate (though it could), but it can be a case of “death by a thousand paper cuts”.

    Suggesting that trump’s response is somehow “multiplying his appeal” is itself coming from a “trump bubble”, as outside that there is little evidence that it is bringing anyone else on board the trump train.

  81. Big Maq Says:

    “Cleaning up after Trump is a dirty job, but someone has to do it. (I’ve compared it to being assigned to follow and clean up after an incontinent horse in a parade.)” – Jim M

    Thanks for the laugh!

  82. OM Says:


    Yes we won’t know until the last “rigged” ballot is counted, bt the VFW also found Trump’s behavior to be unacceptable. I doubt they are part and parcel of the liberal bubble.

    A vote for Trumo was a vote for Hillary.

    Donald is doing a lot of things to alienate the conservative Republicans, while taking positions that will lower turnout for conservatives; “the system is rigged,” from Mr. Rigger.

    All the talk of the SCOTUS is just that when the opposition gains control of Congress, and Trump is making anyone with a (R) by their name toxic.

    Thank you very much FOX news, Reince Preibus, and alt-reich.

  83. Tuvea Says:

    The Donald has really stepped in it this time. And everyone is piling on.

    It is just amazing to see politicians and media types who have spent their entire careers besmirching our service men and women, just for personal gain, now wrapping themselves in the flag.

    It’s been done before. And will continue to be done as long as it works. To say that American citizens have a short attention span is a huge understatement.

  84. Steve D Says:

    ‘the word “right” is not a rhetorical device’

    Of course it is. He was not speaking about rights in the political or legal sense. It was akin to Trump saying: “how dare he?” or something like that. There is no reason anyone should change his or her normal style of speaking when talking about the constitution. I am not even sure how you would do that. I certainly would not anticipate someone suddenly taking my obvious metaphors literally.

    One of the problems I have noticed with conservatives is their often, seeming inability to separate the literal from the metaphorical causing them to misdirect their criticism and look silly, undercutting their message. This occurs especially when they are criticizing liberals like Trump.

    Khan’s statement was metaphorical as well. He did not really mean to suggest that Trump had not read the constitution or even (probably) that he didn’t understand it. He was implying the real problem; (that Trump (like most progressives) disagrees with the constitution or minimizes its importance.

  85. Eric Says:

    “A good rule is to always question the premise of your interrogator.”

    Questioning premise goes hand in hand with reframing the discourse to change the context and recast the interrogator.

    “Obviously, the hack would then say well you’re the one running for president…”

    Right: the Khans are not the opponent. Whatever their personal political or business agenda in the affair, they’re being used in this context by the Democrats for the Clinton campaign, who are the opponent.

    So, target the real opponent and turn around Clinton’s surrogate interrogator and the energies the Democrats have invested in the Khans’ story to interrogate her.

    Instead of grappling with the surrogate on the Democrats’ stage, turn the Khans’ story around to highlight that they’re victims of the Democrats: a righteously grieving gold-star American mom and dad being exploited by the very same Democrats who immorally betrayed their heroic son’s sacrifice in which CPT Khan earned his American honor within his duty in the service of a crucial and righteous cause.

    The Iraq intervention was epochal for American leadership of the free world, and Clinton and Obama’s course deviation with Iraq has been catastrophic. Set that context to shift from defense to offense with the Khans’ story.

    Turn it into a referendum on Clinton’s nakedly political betrayal of the Iraq intervention and Iraq as Senator and Secretary of State, with emphasis on the OIF peace operations for which CPT Khan gave his life, as a fully relevant meter to judge her fitness to be Commander in Chief.

    “Wasn’t saying Clinton’s vote was wrong – though I don’t doubt for one second that it was motivated solely by political expediency”

    Actually, Clinton’s 2002 Senate vote was consistent with the long Senate record supporting HW Bush and her husband’s whole-presidency enforcement of the UNSCR 660 series. Clinton’s Senate vote and President Bush’s enforcement with Iraq carried forward President Clinton’s enforcement with Iraq.

    In other words, Clinton’s vote for the 2002 AUMF was consistent with her husband’s experience grappling with Saddam and the last instance she appears to have done her duty in terms of national security. Set that baseline to contrast and criticize her nakedly political, corrupted national security choices thereafter. Clinton knew right from wrong, and she chose wrong for self-interest.

    But again, the problem is the proper rebuttal requires casting President Bush as conscientious, dutiful, and right on Iraq, which casts Trump, along with Clinton, as wrong because the cornerstone of Trump’s foreign policy position is also the demonstrably false narrative of OIF.

  86. Eric Says:

    Amend for effect:
    In other words, Clinton’s vote for the 2002 AUMF was consistent with her husband’s experience grappling with Saddam and the last instance she appears to have done her duty in terms of national security. Set that baseline to contrast and criticize her nakedly political, corrupted national security choices thereafter. Clinton knew right from wrong, and she chose wrong for self-interest. Mens rea: Clinton knew right from wrong, and she chose wrong for self-interest.

  87. AMartel Says:

    Sudden Selective Reverence for the Constitution is yet another well-worn media ploy. TV Talking Point dolt assumes a serious face and intones, with great deliberation and dread eye contact. Then when their candidate gets into office it’s a “living document” written by slave-owners that must change with the times (say what they want it to say). Ditto for social conventions and precedent. All must bow before the statists’ altar. There are no constitutionalists in this race and Americans only ever hear about the Constitution when it’s being twisted like a pretzel in order to advance a progressive agenda so America stopped seeing it as relevant.

  88. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Big_Maq @ 10:00am

    Evidently you didn’t click on the link that Brietbart provided as substantiation; “What The Media Is Not Telling You About The Muslim Who Attacked Donald Trump: He Is A Muslim Brotherhood Agent Who Wants To Advance Sharia Law And Bring Muslims Into The United States”

    While we can’t know the specifics of Khan’s involvement; that Khan is a long supporter of Sharia Law, that he is a great admirer of a notable, early Muslim Brotherhood figure, that he is deeply connected to the Saudis and that strong connections exist between the law firm he long worked for with the Clinton Foundation are matters of record. That background is an indication of ‘deeper waters’ when it comes to Khan.

  89. DNW Says:

    I started at the bottom of the comments reading up. AMartel has consistently batted a thousand in this comment thread.

    As the modern liberal rhetorical mode is primarily if not exclusively emotional, and as their methods have been long known and should have been anticipated, Trump’s people should have been prepared for the bloody shirt theme to emerge, with suitably adjusted sub-themes of patriotism, victimization and inclusiveness.

    The story of one deceased American Muslim soldier “trumps” untold numbers of bereaved run of the mill American parents victimized by illegals and Muslims, when it comes to touting “our most sacred values and aspirations”.

    No matter how many Chinese nationals are convicted of stealing defense secrets, no matter how many Muslim American soldiers frag, or slaughter their comrades in arms, no matter how many repeatedly deported aliens come back to rape and murder, it is predictable that the progressive strategy will be to emphasize the same thing they have been emphasizing since the propaganda films of WWII with their easily digestible types constituting one big and ultimately happy family where all are welcome, as the progressive Catholic bishops are so fond of saying.

  90. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve D:

    You misunderstand my point.

    Your argument is basically that Trump was using the word in the vernacular sense. My argument is that he may have been doing that or he may not have been doing that (you haven’t a clue about that and neither do I), but that it was and/or would be inappropriate to do so in the context of the discussion, and deeply ironic as well, because the topic of discussion was whether he knew much about the Constitution that protects and defends that very right in the constitutional sense.

    What’s more, Trump has made it crystal clear that he actually does NOT support that right in the constitutional sense, and I offered evidence for that from his past actions and past speech.

    And to top it all off, the Khans DID have a right to say anything they wanted about him, even if “right” is used in the vernacular sense. Whether they were in fact right to do so (as in “correct”) is a different question. But Trump claimed that Khan “has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution.” Not only would he have a “right” to do so (the right to be wrong, if in fact he is wrong), but (as I also pointed out) Khan never actually “claimed” any such thing. He questioned it, and everyone has a “right” to do that, both in the constitutional and the vernacular sense.

    By the way, there is lots of evidence that Trump does disagree with many parts of the Constitution and/or minimizes its importance, and we all can “dare” to assert that if we wish, in front of a crowd or in the privacy of our homes. There’s no “how dare he!” to it. We all can dare to criticize a presidential candidate, and every candidate should be defending our right (vernacular and constitutional) to do so.

  91. Tatterdemaliam Says:

    Bully pulpit vs. Religion of Bullying. This is what will matter, and hopefully Trump won’t give in. No matter how childish Trump looks to the schoolmarms by standing up to the bullies, it’s the only way to handle a bully. Especially one whose religion mandates that they get to bully kaffirs, and kaffirs are not allowed to bully back.

  92. neo-neocon Says:


    Not only am I not continuing to make that mistake, I have never made that mistake. I have always observed and assumed that “Trump voters” will defend him no matter what he does. Trouble is, he doesn’t have enough “Trump voters” to win. He must gain more by converting more people from the Hillary camp or winning over the “undecideds.” This particular escapade of his is not designed to do either.

  93. neo-neocon Says:


    Nice try, but it’s not just “schoolmarms” who see Trump as wrong here. This is not about using the wrong utensil at a ladies’ luncheon.

    What’s more, it is Trump who comes across as the bully. He is the one in the power position, not they. He is the one who blusters and attacks almost everything and everybody. There is no way he is seen as the weak victim here—except I suppose by Trump supporters if it suits their rhetorical needs of the moment.

  94. Tatterdemaliam Says:

    Of course. You still need to see one side or the other as “victim,” and can’t get past that.

    Meanwhile the cry-bullies take over, and you won’t even realize that you had alternatives to letting them do so, alternatives that Trump kept demonstrating.

  95. neo-neocon Says:


    I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    I had NEVER said that I saw either side as a victim. I have been looking at the entire thing in terms of strategy as well as giving particular emphasis to the irony of Trump’s using the word “right” (saying they had “no right”) in the context of a discussion about the Constitution and whether he knows much about it.

    It is YOU who introduced the idea of victims by talking about bullies, something I had never mentioned. I then merely pointed out to you that if you are going to consider anyone the bully and anyone the bullied, it’s certainly not Trump who would be perceived by most observers as the victim of bullying. Au contraire.

  96. Tatterdemaliam Says:

    Why does there have to be a victim when two bullies fight each other, then?

  97. neo-neocon Says:


    It is a matter of perception by the onlookers, the American public. I would say that it is only fervent Trump supporters who watched the exchange between Khan and Trump and thought: “hmm, two bullies here.”

    The bully-victim dichotomy was yours, not mine. YOU are the one who accused me of “needing” to see one side or other as the victim, but I did not say that either side was victim. If I do think of it in terms of bullies, however (which I only took a look at after YOU mentioned it), I think that most non-Trump-supporters or people on the fence about Trump would not see this as two bullies, but as Trump being the bully and the Khans the victims. The Khans are the civilians who lost a son in the war—that’s just a fact, and it makes them natural figures of sympathy for most people. Trump is a presidential candidate, a big strong man who has not suffered a personal tragedy or made a personal sacrifice of that magnitude (whatever he says about creating jobs, a ludicrous comparison), and he can defend himself quite nicely, as everyone who has ever observed him can see. There is no way he is going to be perceived as victim, so in any exchange of insults between Khan and Trump the vast majority of people who do see it as a bully situation will naturally see Trump as bully and Khan as victim, rather than bully/bully as you seem to see it.

    This is what I had written, and only in response to your talking about bullying:

    What’s more, it is Trump who comes across as the bully. He is the one in the power position, not they. He is the one who blusters and attacks almost everything and everybody. There is no way he is seen as the weak victim here—except I suppose by Trump supporters if it suits their rhetorical needs of the moment.

    In other words: Trump is seen as a bully and not a weak victim.

    How does that come across as my needing to see bullies and victims? You responded by writing, “You still need to see one side or the other as ‘victim,’ and can’t get past that.” However, that was the first time I’d ever mentioned bullies or victims, and in was only in response to your characterizing the exchange as involving bullies, so why you would accuse me of “still” “needing” to see “one side or the other as ‘vicim'” is a complete mystery. There’s no “still” about it.

  98. Tatterdemaliam Says:

    “The bully-victim dichotomy was yours, not mine. YOU are the one who accused me of “needing” to see one side or other as the victim, but I did not say that either side was victim.”

    Except I wasn’t the one who started trying to find victims. From the post I was responding to, when I “accused” you:

    “There is no way he is seen as the weak victim here—except I suppose by Trump supporters.”

    The first step is admitting the actual problem.

  99. neo-neocon Says:


    Reading comprehension is apparently not your strong suit.

    I wrote that Trump is not seen as a victim of bullying. NOT seen as a victim. Therefore I was not ““needing to see one side or other as the victim.” I did not label either as a victim.

    As I said several times, it is YOU who brought up the bullying topic in the first place, not me. I have no need to see either bullies or victims. But in any bully dynamic, it just so happens that most people will see one person as more bully and the other as more a victim. That’s what bullying is all about. No one really cares if one bully bullies another bully, do they? I’ve certainly never observed that.

  100. Big Maq Says:

    “the Abedins (Huma Abedin and family)… played a central role in using Muslim immigration to infiltrate the west with Wahhbi agenda. The House of Saud had used Huma’s father Sayed Zaynul Abedin’s work regarding the Muslim Minority Affairs in the West, published in 1998 as part of 29 works to construct a plan to conquer the U.S. with Islam” – Shoebat article GB linked (as did Breitbart)

    @GB – as I said… Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon guilt by association.

    Linking to a site that has “Obamas’ Wahhabist Fundraising Empire” as an article is enough to question the veracity of the “source” and their interpretation of it all.

  101. Big Maq Says:

    @Tatterdemaliam – read your thread with Neo. Seems you give unjustifiably wide interpretation to what constitutes a “bully” vs a “victim” in what Neo’s responses were.

    We can disagree with what Khan has said (I do with a good portion of it), but the fact that he is seen as a “cry-bully” here is clearly in the eye of the beholder.

    In the dynamic where trump is the one running for president, he has the upper position. He will be the receiver of all kinds of messages – fair or unfair, eloquent or crude – and the onus is on him to respond appropriately, presidentially.

    That trump didn’t is his problem – without blame on a “cry bully”.

  102. Ymarsakar Says:

    Tatterdemaliam Says:
    August 2nd, 2016 at 12:22 pm
    Of course. You still need to see one side or the other as “victim,” and can’t get past that.

    Meanwhile the cry-bullies take over, and you won’t even realize that you had alternatives to letting them do so, alternatives that Trump kept demonstrating.

    Is Tatter trying to claim he knew the Leftist alliance was evil long ago? Because by my limited recollection, he was sleeping like the rest of America was, while the Left took over. They have no moral authority to question other people on the same mistakes they themselves made.

    This context is like Leftists using Reagan to rhetorically smash Bush II. Reagan wasn’t there to defend himself, and Bush II wasn’t either, when the Left used GWB’s statements against the war. While Trum and Khan isn’t here to defend themselves, there are people who have personal authorities that can be put on the line and tested.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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