Khizr Khan Was Right About Donald Trump — And The Donald Himself Proved It
Though Hillary Clinton officially accepting the Democratic party's nomination for president on Thursday night did get me pretty hyped, it was someone else at the convention who roused me to my feet, and had me unexpectedly crying thick American tears. It seems the whole world heard Khizr Khan, father of a Muslim American soldier who received a Purple Heart for giving his life in Iraq, when he said of Donald Trump, “You have sacrificed nothing, and no one.” Or rather, everyone except Trump heard the speech, since Trump’s reaction to the DNC clearly proved Khan right.
Khan, an immigrant from the United Arab Emirates, delivered the most potent speech of the night, with a trenchant reminder of his son's patriotism and an unapologetic condemnation of Trump's insulting immigration plan to ban all Muslims from the United States. Asking of Trump, "Have you even read the United States Constitution?" Khan then pulled out his own pocket edition and said, "I will gladly lend you my copy."
As a proud American with "undivided loyalty to [this] country," Khan easily highlighted the contrast between the loyalty of his own family and the record of the Republican nominee, when he pointed out that Trump has sacrificed absolutely nothing for his country. According to Niraj Chokshi of The New York Times, conservatives and Republicans joined in to praise Khan's appeal.
The point that came through with astonishing force from this statement was one that cannot be made enough: Donald Trump has always looked out for himself, and he has given Americans no reason to believe that this would change if he made it to the Oval Office. Trump owes his wealth to the American freedom and liberty of which he was lucky enough to take advantage throughout his life, yet he has performed no public service, and has given only questionable donations to charity. Throughout his entire campaign his behavior has made it clear that what is most important to him is being right, being praised, and being on top.
After the DNC convention came to a close on Thursday, Trump released his reactions in a tweet-storm that proved exactly that. As pointed out by The Guardian's Ben Jacobs, this tirade was somewhat different from the reaction of John McCain to Barack Obama's nomination in 2008, which was to release a congratulatory video recognizing his historic accomplishment. In his tweets, Trump called the media coverage of the DNC "a joke" for paying so much attention to Clinton's "average speech," mentioned Hillary spoke in a "very average scream," and made the favorite Republican complaint that Hillary Clinton would not "say the words," Radical Islam.
Trump also attacked speaker U.S. General John Allen as "failing badly in his fight against ISIS," dubbed Mayor Bloomberg as "'Little' Michael Bloomberg," and responded to a claim by Hillary that he couldn't handle a political campaign with a school-yard approved, "Really, I just beat 16 people and am beating her!" Also notably, Trump called Hillary Clinton's speech "very long and very boring," which is a remarkably bold move coming off his own 75-minute diatribe.
All of Trump's tweets were customarily petulant, defensive, and nowhere close to presidential. What is different today, however, is that when considered in the aftermath of Khan's incisive statement about sacrifice, a characteristic Trump reaction has become a transparent demonstration — exposing ever more clearly that Trump's only priority is not his own country, but his own pride.