VIDEO | Trump defends criticism of soldier's parents, promotes his message on trade
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Monday that the father of a Muslim soldier who died in Iraq said “horrible things” about him at the Democratic National Convention and “I will always respond.”
In an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Trump repeatedly said he honors the sacrifice of Khizr Khan’s son and all others who have died for this country, but he was surprised that the man “viciously attacked” him.
Khan, whose son Army Capt. Humayun Khan was killed by a suicide bomber in 2004, questioned whether Trump had read the constitution during a speech at the convention, condemning the candidate’s rhetoric that he said disrespects minorities. In response, Trump questioned why Khan’s wife stood silently next to him, implying that she was not allowed to speak.
Although several top Republicans have criticized Trump for maligning the parents of a war hero, he continued tweeting about the Khans Monday after they appeared on CNN.
“All I did was respond, and I will always respond,” Trump said on Monday afternoon.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has suggested that Trump’s response to criticism indicates he does not have the temperament to be president.
“I think I have a great temperament,” Trump said. "I’m just saying – that from the stage I was attacked about the constitution, and I know the constitution very well – probably as well as anybody. But I was attacked about the constitution, and I think when you’re spoken to that way, you’re allowed to say something back.”
“I’d like to have a very large body of people watching the debates, and we’re up against two very important NFL games,” he said. “The people in the NFL know all about this, and frankly they’re not thrilled either, I don’t imagine.”
In previous election cycles, debates have often been held on the same night as football games or baseball playoff games, but Trump has claimed it was done this way because Clinton wants a smaller audience.
Although the debate schedule was set last fall, long before Clinton was the Democratic nominee, Trump said, “It was always anticipated that she’d win.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates has denied any political motivation for the scheduling.
Trump also defended his standing in polls, which has slipped since the Democratic convention. He believes his message opposing bad trade deals will resonate with voters in Ohio.
“Ohio, you just look at their manufacturing business, you look at their coal business, Hillary Clinton wants to close up all the mines,” he said. “Close them up, get rid of all the miners, get rid of all the steel workers, and I’m going to do the opposite.”
He also said he would renegotiate or eliminate NAFTA because too many manufacturing jobs have been lost to Mexico.
“We’re not going to let Mexico and other countries steal all our workers, and that’s what’s happening,” Trump said. “Look at your manufacturing, it’s down so badly, one in three jobs in this area – gone. It’s just gone and they’ll never be back, and we’re not going to let that happen.”
According to Trump, electing Clinton would be like getting four more years of President Obama or worse. He said the U.S. needs to be stronger and smarter to protect the American people and their jobs.
“Jobs. It’s about jobs. It’s about the economy. Mexico is not going to be taking our jobs out of Ohio anymore.”