Donald Trump goes after Muslim father's Democratic convention speech
After the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention, Donald Trump weighed in Friday on the gathering's wide array of Hillary Clinton boosters, criticizing in a New York Times interview everyone from retired four-star Gen. John Allen to the Muslim lawyer whose son, an Army captain awarded the Purple Heart, died in the Iraq war in 2004.
In his interview with the Times' Maureen Dowd, Trump briefly answered a question on Khizr Khan, who gave a rousing speech at the Democratic convention about his Muslim son Humayan, killed in Iraq while fighting as a U.S. Army captain. Khan's wife stood silently beside him on the Philadelphia stage Thursday.
Trump's response to Dowd's query about Khan: "I'd like to hear his wife say something."
Later, in a separate interview with ABC News, Trump expounded on Khan's wife, Ghazala.
"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," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "You tell me."
Ghazala Khan spoke extensively in a Friday appearance on MSNBC about her son's life and harrowing death.
Trump, in the ABC interview, also responded to Khan's challenge that he had "sacrificed nothing" for his country.
"Who wrote that? Did Hillary's scriptwriters write it?" Trump said. "I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard."
According to one Politico interview with Khan, an immigration lawyer with a degree from Harvard University, the speaker declined a Clinton campaign offer to use a speechwriter, preparing his remarks himself but also talking extemporaneously while on the stage.
Clinton came to the Khan's defense Saturday, saying in a statement that she was very "moved" by Ghazala Khan.
"This is a time for all Americans to stand with the Khans, and with all the families whose children have died in service to our country," Clinton said. "And this is a time to honor the sacrifice of Captain Khan and all the fallen. Captain Khan and his family represent the best of America, and we salute them."
In the Times interview, Trump also lambasted Allen as a "failed general" after the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan spoke in support of Clinton at the final night of the Democratic convention.
"He was fighting ISIS? He's not Gen. George Patton. He's talking about me and he knows nothing about me," Trump told Dowd, before referencing his own military adviser. "I have a general -- General Flynn. I'll take him any day."
Clinton defended Allen as well, calling him a "distinguished Marine, a hero and a patriot."
"Our commander in chief shouldn't insult and deride our generals, retired or otherwise," the Democratic nominee said at a campaign stop in Johnstown, Pennsylvania Saturday. "That really should go without saying but I'm going to respond on behalf of General Allen to those kinds of insults."
On Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who urged voters to unite behind Clinton, Trump recycled some of his usual low-energy attack lines and aimed them at the former Clinton rival.
"I think he wanted to go home and go to sleep," he said of the progressive icon. "I'd like to hear his wife say something. He could have left one of the great legacies, but he made a deal and now he has buyer's remorse."
Later, Trump delivered similar broadsides against the Democratic nominee.
"I watched her last night," Trump said Friday. "It was hard to watch. I was falling asleep. It beats Sominex every time. She could barely beat Bernie. The system is rigged. It's a terrible thing."
He blasted other notable speakers, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who he dubbed "Little Michael" who "never had the guts to run." Bloomberg, who considered a third-party presidential bid for months, declined to run earlier this year.
Trump did offer some kind words for a few of the headliners at the convention -- including the president and first lady -- despite their lambasting of the GOP nominee.
He praised Michelle Obama, who never named Trump in her address but indirectly alluded to how unfit he was for a position where "you can't boil down the issues... to 140 characters."
"She gave a very good speech," the GOP nominee said.
Of her husband, Trump said the president had "some quality going."
"Obama gave a good speech but not nearly as good as the press would have you believe," he told Dowd. "Whether it's good or bad, the press will say it's fantastic."
He then acknowledged that "I like Obama" - though he said he was "embarrassed" at the admission.
"In many ways, I like Obama. It's hard to define. There's something about him I do like. I'm embarrassed to admit it. I give him a lot of credit," Trump said. "It's very unique and very hard to do and I give him tremendous credit. He became a two-term president of the United States. He's got some quality going."
Trump also lauded Chelsea Clinton's Thursday address introducing her mother.
"I thought Chelsea was excellent," he said. "I thought she was very good. She's very friendly with Ivanka. They like each other and they should continue to be friends. My children were the stars of my convention."
In one notable exchange, Dowd asked Trump about Anthony Weiner, the former New York congressman who left his House seat after a salacious "sexting" scandal. Weiner, whose wife Huma Abedin is a close aide to Clinton, attended the Democratic convention.
Trump said: "I think he's a pervert. It's dangerous to allow him on the convention floor."
But when asked about former Fox News executive Roger Ailes, who recently left the company amid a series of sexual harassment allegations, Trump said: "Roger's a friend of mine."
for more features.