Veterans of Foreign Wars on Monday issued a blunt statement condemning Donald Trump’s criticism of the Muslim family of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in combat in 2004. Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of the soldier, took to the podium at last week’s Democratic National Convention to praise their son as a war hero, and to condemn Trump for painting all Muslims with one brush. His father spoke while his mother stood at her husband’s side.

Gold Star Mothers

Trump suggested that the soldier’s mother did not speak at the convention because, as a Muslim wife, she was not allowed to speak.

Ghazala Khan wrote a blistering response in The Washington Post, saying she did not speak because she was unable to keep her emotions in check. She is a member of American Gold Star Mothers, a service organization made of of the mothers of soldiers who died in battle.

Trump remarks can’t be repaired

The VFW suggested Trump will not be forgiven for his verbal attacks on the Khans. “There are certain sacrosanct subjects that no amount of wordsmithing can repair once crossed,” newly elected VFW Commander Brian Duffy said in a statement published on the organization’s website.

VFW doesn’t endorse candidates

“Election year or not,” Duffy said, “the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression.” The VFW does not endorse presidential candidates.

In a guideline for VFW members on elections, the group said that “as an individual and VFW member you can work or campaign on behalf of your favorite candidate -- and are encouraged to do so.” but “don’t endorse candidates on behalf of the VFW as a post, district, department, or national leader.

McCain joins in condemnation

Trump “has a history of lashing out after being attacked,” the VFW noted. The Khan controversy is a case in point, with the Republican nominee taking to Twitter several times to defend himself and attack the soldier’s family. Trump’s statements also drew fire from Sen. John McCain, a veteran and 2008 Republican presidential nominee.

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