Donald Trump has “a black soul...totally unfit for the leadership of this beautiful country,” Khizr Khan charged Sunday.
The father of Army Capt. Humayun Khan had given an emotional seven-minute speech last week at the Democratic convention invoking the memory of his son, who died in Iraq in 2004.
Khizr Khan questioned whether Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, had ever read the Constitution and said he had sacrificed nothing for his country.
Trump hit back, saying he had created thousands of jobs, and that was a sacrifice.
Sunday, he told ABC’s "This Week" that Khizr Khan was being used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Trump also criticized Ghazala Khan, the Army captain’s mother, for being silent during her husband’s speech. She responded Sunday with an opinion piece sharply criticizing Trump..
Khizr Khan denied the Clinton campaign had anything to do with his convention remarks. "There is no truth to that. You are listening to me. You are talking to me," Khan told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., added their voices Sunday, though they stopped short of naming Trump.
“Captain Khan was an American hero, and like all Americans I’m grateful for the sacrifices that selfless young men like Capt. Khan and their families have made in the war on terror,” he said in a statement.
“All Americans should value the patriotic service of the patriots who volunteer to selflessly defend us in the armed services,” McConnell said. “ And as I have long made clear, I agree with the Khans and families across the country that a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values.”
Ryan had a similar view. “America's greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it. As I have said on numerous occasions, a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values. I reject it,” he said.
“Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice. Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice, and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan, should always be honored. Period.”
Trump Saturday night tried to soften his criticism somewhat in a press release. “Captain Humayun Khan was a hero to our country and we should honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe,” Trump said.
Khan said he appreciated Trump’s statement " confirming that he accepts my son as a hero of this country."
But he remained angry at Trump.
"His policies, his practices do not reflect that he has any understanding of the basic fundamental constitutional principles of this country, what makes this country exceptional, what makes this country exceptional in the history of the mankind," Khan said.
Those principles involve "equal dignity, principle of liberty. He talks about excluding people, disrespecting judges, the entire judicial system, immigrants, Muslim immigrants," Khan said.
Trump had criticized Khan’s wife, who stood by her husband’s side and did not speak during the convention.
She criticized Trump Sunday in a Washington Post opinion piece.
“When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant. If he studied the real Islam and Koran, all the ideas he gets from terrorists would change, because terrorism is a different religion,” she wrote. “Donald Trump said he has made a lot of sacrifices. He doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means.”
On CNN, her husband added, "Two things are absolutely necessary in any leader or any person that aspires, wishes to be a leader. That is moral compass, and second is empathy," Khizr Khan said. "This candidate is void of both traits that are necessary for the stewardship of this country. "
Khan’s wife said she did not speak because she’s too upset over the loss of her son.
"For this candidate for presidency to not be aware of the respect of a Gold Star Mother standing there, and he had to take that shot at her, this is height of ignorance," Khizr Khan said. "This is why I showed him that Constitution. Had he read that, he would know what status a Gold Star Mother holds in this nation. "
In Trump, he said, people "have seen the blackness of his character, of his soul, that he is void of recognizing, empathizing with people."