Khizr Khan Tells Trevor Noah He Is "Twice Heartbroken" By The Way Myeshia Johnson Was Treated
On Monday's episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Khizr Khan condemned the treatment of both the soldiers killed in Niger and their families, saying their "privacy and dignity was not granted in the way it should have been." Khan, a Gold Star father who entered the public eye after giving a speech at the Democratic National Convention condemning Trump, emphasized that he was particularly disappointed in the way Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, was treated when her husband was repatriated to the United States.
On October 4, a joint patrol between U.S. and Niger troops was attacked in southwestern Niger, near the border with Mali. Five soldiers from Niger and four U.S. soldiers were killed in this attack, including Sgt. La Johnson. His death has received particular attention because of the way in which his widow was reportedly treated in the days that followed. Myeshia told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that the phone call she received from President Trump to offer condolences for her husband's death made her upset, noting that Trump told her that her husband " ... knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyway." Myeshia also added, “It made me cry because I was very angry at the tone in his voice and how he said it.” She also noted that Trump seemingly struggled to remember her husband's name.
Trump denied that his call with Myeshia was inconsiderate, tweeting on Monday that he " ... had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!"
Khan addressed the supposed treatment of Johnson's widow when speaking with Noah on The Daily Show, introducing the topic while speaking about what it meant to him to wear a gold star honoring the loss of his son and many other soldiers during wartime:
Nobody wishes to wear this gold star. This is given to commemorate the sacrifice of your loved one ... all gold start families have the pride, they have the highest dignity, the highest honor of this nation. And that is our tradition which was violated few days ago when my four brave sons died in protecting United States in the most difficult circumstances. Their privacy, their dignity, was not granted the way it should have been ...
Khan then went on to note that he was particularly upset by the way in which Sgt. La Johnson and his widow were treated, expressing his disbelief that Myeshia was reportedly not given the courtesy of viewing her husband's body when he was repatriated back to the United States. Khan emphasized that this did not represent a dignified way to treat the family of a fallen soldier, telling Noah,
... to view the body of Sgt. Johnson that is basic courtesy that should have been granted ... that courtesy was not extended to Myeshia. I am just twice heartbroken ... if the body was in a condition where it was not identifiable, say so. Someone should visit with her, sit down with the family, explain to them the reason that we are not being able to show you ... it happens in the military ... but you sit in dignity and you explain to the family, give them the dignity of this information, that this is the condition for such reason. And that was not extended to Myeshia?
Khan did not address Trump's condolence call with Myeshia on the show — however, it is clear that he similarly feels that her husband's death was not handled respectfully by the United States.
Khan wrapped up his appearance on Noah's show by emphasizing the importance of remaining unified and hopeful and of coming together to stand up for the rights of all Americans, so that no one can take a way those rights — rights for which Khan's son, the soldiers in Niger, and thousands of others, have given their lives.