On Friday morning, the media, unable to ladle plaudits on the most boring major political speech of our lifetime – Hillary Clinton’s nomination acceptance speech – turned instead to a far more heart-rending speech: the attack on Donald Trump by Khizr Khan, father of a Muslim Army soldier killed in Afghanistan. Capt. Humayun Khan died in a suicide bombing, earning the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
The media’s overweening attention on Khan contrasts sharply with their rage at Pat Smith for talking about her military son, killed in Benghazi. Pat Smith’s son died because Hillary Clinton decided not to place additional security in Benghazi; Hillary then lied to Smith. Trump didn’t do anything to harm Khan’s son. But the media treated Pat Smith as a villain and Khan as a hero.
That says nothing about either Khan or Smith. It says something about the corruption of a media desperate to slam Trump and eager to defend Hillary.
But there were a few problems with Khan’s speech, too.
Khan attacked Trump directly:
Our son, Humayun, had dreams too, of being a military lawyer, but he put those dreams aside the day he sacrificed his life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son 'the best of America'.
If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities; women; judges; even his own party leadership.
He vows to build walls, and ban us from this country. Donald Trump, you're asking Americans to trust you with their future.
Let me ask you: have you even read the United States constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. [Here, he pulled out a copy of the Constitution.] In this document, look for the words 'liberty' and 'equal protection of law'.
Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America.
You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.
It was a deeply moving moment. And Trump had it coming – his initial would-be ban on Muslims entering the country apparently included the possibility that even Muslim Americans traveling abroad would be barred from coming home. Trump’s original Muslim immigration ban didn’t make any distinction between jihadists and shariah-governance sympathizers on the one hand, and Westernized or Western-friendly Muslims on the other.
But Khan’s statements are the flip side of that coin. By glossing over problems within Islam, Khan does a disservice – presumably, he wouldn’t be interested in having Muslims like the ones who murdered his son enter America either. It's perfectly reasonable to worry about jihadists entering the country, and the presence of Muslim troops in the military doesn't change that. Furthermore, Trump may be ignorant of the Constitution, but the Constitution has nothing to say about the standards used by the government to decide who should and should not immigrate to the country.
Finally, Khan’s emotional appeal boils down to a chickenhawk argument – Trump didn’t serve in the military and his children haven’t either, and thus he shouldn’t be able to take policy positions different than Khan’s. That’s weak tea. America has always been governed by civilians in control of the military. Beyond that, American military members support Trump over Clinton by polling data.
But the details don’t matter – only the narrative matters. And so the media played up Khan this morning to the hilt. After all, Queen Hillary must take the throne.