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Trump's Fight with Gold Star Family Could Cost Florida Veteran Vote

August 5, 2016 - 5:00pm
Donald Trump
Donald Trump

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has put himself between veterans after engaging in a heated spat earlier this week with the family of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, killed in the Iraq war in 2004. And Trump's continued attacks on the family could prove costly in Florida, a state 1.6 million veterans call home.

Sunshine State veterans have expressed disenchantment over Trump’s latest head-to-head with Ghazala and Khizr Khan, the Gold Star soldier's Muslim-American mom and dad who appeared at the Democratic National Convention to speak criticizing the billionaire businessman. 

Trump shot back in an attempt, he says, to defend himself against Khizr Khans' words -- a move for which he says he’s not sorry. 

"I don’t regret anything,” said Trump. “I said nice things about the son and I feel that very strongly, but of course I was hit very hard from the stage and you know it’s just one of those things, but no I don’t regret anything."

Trump’s comments on the family came under fire from all sectors, from GOP leaders, Democrats and the media. 

But for some watching the blow by blow of Trump’s back-and-forth with the Khans, the fight felt personal -- and could get costly in important places like Florida, a must-win state for anyone hoping to sit in the Oval Office next year. 

Florida's 1.6 million veterans make the state the third-largest in veteran population, behind California and Texas. Vets make up 12 percent of the state’s total population.

Trump drew a crowd of 15,000 at a rally in Jacksonville this week, but veterans from the Union Veterans Council said they didn’t see how Trump could pull himself out of the grave he had dug in his relationship with vets. 

“He talks about how he respects veterans and how he’s going to fix the VA,” said Korean and Vietnam Army vet David Gates. “But from how he reacts to the Khan family, I see no respect for veterans, for their sacrifice, at all.”

Union members clearly expressed their distaste for Trump, saying they were puzzled by the GOP nominee’s insults.

Other veterans said they, too, weren’t cheering for Team Trump after his remarks. 

“It’s outrageous to us that he has attacked this family,” said Florida Veterans for Common Sense president and Air Force veteran Gene Jones. “He should be repudiated.”

Trump’s shot at the Khan family hasn’t seemed to hit any target that might help him. Jones said it wasn’t just Trump’s comments to the Khan family that caused him the most concern. 

“He’s just out of touch with reality,” he explained.

In Washington, veterans flocked to Capitol Hill Thursday to rally against the GOP nominee, who has taken politics by storm over the last year. 

“Donald Trump and his surrogates have demonstrated that their bigotry and hate speech know no bounds,” Nate Terani, the first Muslim American to serve in the US Navy Presidential Honor Guard, said. “Donald Trump is a racist and bigot and wholly unfit for this position.”

These veterans presented a petition to U.S. Sen. John McCain  to “unendorse” the candidate, gathering over 100,000 signatures. McCain endorsed Trump in May.

Veterans have always represented an important voting bloc in elections. With polls indicating trouble for Trump in several swing states, he’ll need to convince many voters to take his side before November. 

Some veterans say he’s clearly the better choice over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I would like to think that he might restore some of the essential ingredients of a country’s survival back into the due processes and people of America, but power does funny things to people,” said Vietnam veteran Thomas Pastore. “I would gamble on Trump, as I am certain that Hillary has never and will never demonstrate any more loyalty to anyone other than her reflection.”

Others weren’t so sure, pointing to Trump’s comments on Khan as an indicator he’s in trouble. 

“It’ll hurt him,” Gene Jones told Sunshine State News. “Rest assured.”

As of now, it’s uncertain whether Trump has any intentions of trying to heal his strained relationship with Florida veterans, and the clock is ticking for him to make amends. 




Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen


I'm one of those 1.6 million vets living in Florida and I support the election of Donald Trump. Kahn is a danger to our freedom. Hillary hates anyone in uniform be it a member of law enforcement or the US military. There wasn't a single person in uniform on the floor of the DNC convention under her order. She's a danger to this country as well. GP TRUMP !

At the end of the day, he went after a fallen hero's family. you cannot slice that any other way. A true diplomat would have answered eloquently, thanking their son and the family for their sacrifice, then laying out his disagreement in philosophy, but sadly he did not. It will surely be one of his Romney-like defining moments...

"NONSENSE !"... THIS Democrat Veteran is solidly behind Trump !

If you care to do the research, that Gold Star father (Khan) is an active member of CAIR, a Muslim group that has been designated as a Terrorist group.. No wonder he and his wife support Hillary. They must have been horrified that their son joined the military and fought against the terrorists in Afghanistan. Go Trump!!

Upon reading the posted comments, clearly BillB, so far, has first prize for providing the entertainment package to this coming weekend's Democratic Delegates' party! It takes a real man to offer up both his wife and daughter to all the men, (or lady) delegates!

The Khan family has suffered a loss, a loss that many families have suffered. A closer look shows Khan has deep connections with the DNC. For example, from Breitbart, "Khizr Khan, the Muslim Gold Star father that the mainstream media and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been using to criticize Donald J. Trump, has deep ties to the government of Saudi Arabia—and to international Islamist investors through his own law firm. In addition to those ties to the wealthy Islamist nation, Khan also has ties to controversial immigration programs that wealthy foreigners can use to essentially buy their way into the United States—and has deep ties to the “Clinton Cash” narrative through the Clinton Foundation." At first blush it looked like the Khans were just Gold Star parents who the big bad Donald Trump attacked. It turns out, however, in addition to being Gold Star parents, the Khans are financially and legally tied deeply to the industry of Muslim migration–and to the government of Saudi Arabia and to the Clintons themselves. Given the opportunity, of course he did attack Trump (against immigration of Muslims until proper vetting is in place) because it would cut his money stream at E5B at $500,.000 a pop. Please don't draw conclusions until you know the underlying facts.

You underestimate the intelligence of our veterans. I am sure they can see the politics in this latest DNC and MSM BullS***. Why aren't you writing about Clinton's lies to the Bengazhi gold star families?

Between the two candidates, Trump is the only one to put "his" money were his mouth is! Hillary's contempt for our first responders and military is documented.

I think you need to look at UVa's article on Capt. Kahn and his parent's tribute to the basic Jeffersonian concept of civil democracy. Sometimes we honor good folks - as Hillary did when the Kahn's were chosen to speak at the Democratic Convention.

....And, sometimes we don't... GO TRUMP!!

That Khan man is just that. You do your homework and will find his wrote sharia Law here in America, he's a big dude in the Muslim Brotherhood and he's missing is to bring Muslims into the U.S. which shows why he hates Trump, it's a conflict of interest vetting his brotherhood of jihadists. Look where he's now, in Pakistan on their National T.V. slamming Mr. Trump with his negative approach. American, not 1st, that's Khan man. He is also part of the clinton machine. He's the facts Veterans and those GOP Republicans that aren't gonna support Mr. Trump the Republican nominee. Don't vote and continue to rival against Trump. It will be on your conscience and your fault if clinton is elected and she picks 3 - 5 Liberal Supreme Court Justices and ruins the Country you claim to love, yep this includes all the bushs, mitt romney, glenn beck that disgusting rick lowery guy and everyone else who doesn't support the nominee.

Whatever........ Please remember: Hillary has a 40 year history of public disdain for the military.......she makes *Hanoi Jane seem like a patriot. Trump has done a great deal for Vets. *The Nam era - check it out.

Sorry to disagree but Hanoi Jane was a complete slut for the NVC. I can't imagine just how many gooks she screwed to her own delight. To this day, I refuse to support her, or any of her projects. She may have been a cute kid, but that's as far as I'll go.Too bad she didn't 'entertain' American troops as she did the enemy!

This whole thing is about the Media lying.. Trump did nothing wrong.. Get the facts before you start 'reporting' on rumors and lies. Khan is a Con.. look into him and you will see.. Trump is sure showing the Media to be liars and false gossips.. even the bible is against that for a reason. Slander is illegal.. Shame on the media for making up and spreading lies. Trump 2016

Donald Trump is a pig. I pray that a majority of American voters can see that.

Take a look in your mirror! See? It's YOU who's the pig!!

Keep praying Billy B! He's no more a pig than you're a communist sympathizer. (you aren't, are you?) GO TRUMP!!

You sir, are an uninformed idiot.. WAKE UP! The media has played you like a cheap fiddle ha ha..

Hey Donald! Want to buy some naked pictures of your wife?

Low B L O W comment, Billy B, but now that you've brought the subject up, I must compliment you on your choice of a wife! She sure is mighty fine lookin' !

I didn't watch the DNC convention, I had no desire to. Just as I had no desire to watch the RNC. I caught the multitude of reports the next day about Trump's response. At first I was incensed but by the end of the day, a score of opinions attacking Trump and defending Trump, I reminded myself why I'm going third party. There's BS on both sides. Both candidates should be in prison for their dealings over the decades.

I continue to hope that the majority of Americans will utilize facts, unlike you, and NOT simply view the "the multitude of reports" and make their so called 'informed opinions'. IF they do, God help the USA. GO TRUMP!!

You would rather throw your vote away than find the truth? You are helping no one and not making any point other than you don't care.

Just more BS anti Trump media crap. If anyone actually watched the interview the lieing media hyped up they would see Trump said nothing wrong. Shame on you SSNews for standing with HER and HER and the medias lies! What about a story of how Hillery insulted the Bengazii familly and said there lives dont matter ??? Where is the outrage uproar??? WAKE UP AMERICA !!! VOTE TRUMP!

Amen - one last chance to save America and what it stood for.. and the Media (which is mostly owned by Democrats) is lying their pens off to turn everything he says, into some kind of hit piece.. They can't say anything nice about Hillary..... so they tell lies about Trump.. Why not tell about the 400 pizza's he bought for the police at the Jacksonville rally? And had them delivered around not just at one location.. ????????? He does hundreds of thing you could report on.. but you choose to make up lies.. look in the mirror.. what do you see..?

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