During the 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump drew ire for repeatedly attacking the father of a fallen American Gold Star soldier. As if that father hadn't already been through enough during the public spat, he also happens to be a resident of Charlottesville, the site of a violent white supremacist rally that left one person dead over the weekend. Khizr Khan witnessed the violence in Charlottesville, and in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, he condemned the president for his "morally compromised leadership" and failure to condemn white supremacy.
“It wasn’t any other group that raided the sacred grounds of the University of Virginia and threatened the student community,” Khan said, referring to the white supremacists who hosted the "Unite the Right" rally on Saturday. “It wasn’t any other group that ran over the crowd. It wasn’t any other group that carried the weapons in front of the public.”
Khan's words directly contradict the views of President Trump, who stated in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the "alt-left" played a role in the violence, and that there is "blame on both sides."
Khan went to to criticize other members of the Trump Administration, like Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, for being "hell-bent on misdirecting the United States."
You can watch an excerpt of the interview here.
Khan, a Pakistani American who immigrated to the United States with his family in 1980, described the pain he felt while witnessing white supremacists marching for hate in his own community.
I witnessed something that I could not imagine. There was a Nazi flag carried by one person and flag of United States carried by another person in the same group. I thought of thousands of my sons and daughters that died defending that flag.
Khan said that the violence he saw on Saturday reminded him of the violence in the Middle East that he escaped many years ago.
"I ran from that, because that is contrary to the human spirit,” Khan said. "But I find it here, right in my backyard."
Khan has repeatedly publicly challenged the president for many of his controversial views since Trump won the election, including his travel ban and appointment of Jeff Sessions to the position of U.S. Attorney General. Clearly, given the tragic events that Khan witnessed in his hometown this weekend, Khan doesn't plan on staying silent anytime soon, and will continue to speak out about equality and inclusion.