Government

Gold Star dad: Assault on American values by 'the incumbent' is personal

Khizr Khan holds a copy of U.S. Constitution, which he offered to lend to Donald Trump. Khan is shown with his wife, Gha
Khizr Khan holds a copy of U.S. Constitution, which he offered to lend to Donald Trump. Khan is shown with his wife, Ghazala Khan, during the last day of the Democratic National Convention on July 28, 2016, in Philadelphia. Their son, Humayun S.M. Khan, was a University of Virginia graduate who enlisted in the U.S. Army and died in Iraq, serving the United States. (Michael Bryant/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Khizr Khan, a Gold Star father who gained international fame when he offered to lend his copy of the United States Constitution to Donald Trump, is raising his voice to deny “the incumbent” another term in the White House.

Khan, who never referred to the president by name Saturday afternoon during a visit to the Mother Mosque, charged that “the incumbent continues to violate the basic foundational American democratic institutions.”

Trump’s actions, including his invitation to Russia to interfere with American elections, “must be topped, must be checked,” Khan said. If not, he said, we are setting precedents. Khan’s visit was arranged by the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden. Khan also met Saturday with Biden volunteers in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

Without specifically mentioning impeachment, Khan said if Congress does not act “it will be co-conspirators in this violation of law.”

Khan said he is speaking up again out of concern for the rule of law. He delivered powerful speech at the Democratic National Committee 2016 convention in support of Hillary Clinton. Now he has endorsed Biden, calling him the most experienced and qualified to lead America out of the chaos created by Trump.

Khan said he has visited more than 270 communities in defense of the U.S. Constitution, including previous visits to Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, and invites Iowans to join his effort.

“This is the time to stand and this is the time to raise our voice and our concern that we will not have this outrageous illegality, violation of our rule of law, our democratic law, our checks and balances,” he said.

Khan and his wife, Ghazala, are the parents of Army Capt. Humayan Khan, who was killed as a result of an explosion in 2004 while serving in Baqubah, Iraq. Humayan received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Khan, a Pakistan native who became a U.S. citizen in 1986, began speaking out in 2015 after Trump proposed a ban on Muslims entering the United States. After Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention, Trump belittled him and said Khan spoke because his wife is not allowed to speak in public.

Khan’s opposition to Trump is personal because he said American values are being trampled.

The United States has been a beacon of hope to others “because of its ideas, because of its values,” Khan said. He compared the ideal of American democracy to what is happening in Hong Kong “in the name of democracy, for the sake of some basic freedoms.”

“God forbid something like that ever happens here, but our liberties are being challenged,” he said.

When he became a citizen, Khan said, “I raised my hand and took an oath to defend the Constitution.”

“The incumbent also did that,” he said. “History is witness that the incumbent has violated the oath of office. So it is personal for every American.”

Joe Aossey, a military veteran sporting a Bernie Sanders sticker, told Khan to continue to speak up.

“You have every right to do what you’re doing,” Aossey said. “You should stand as tall as you are doing it because for the government to come out and act like it is in relationship to people like us, is so disgusting and so demeaning — not for us, for the government.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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