Arizona Senator and former U.S. presidential candidate John McCain on Mnday denounced Donald Trump for attacking the family of a fallen soldier that had criticized him during the Democratic National Convention last week.
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"In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier's parents," McCain said in an official statement released on Monday. "He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump's statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates."
The Republican nominee had lashed out at Khizr Khan, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin and a Muslim, when Khan told of his war hero son at the convention and took issue with Trump's call for a temporary ban on the entry of Muslims into the United States.
Khizr Khan invited the Republican nominee to read the U.S. Constitution and visit the graves of American soldiers from many backgrounds at Arlington National Cemetery.
In the interview aired on Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Trump cast doubt on why Khan's wife did not speak.
"She was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me," Trump said.
Trump's statements drew fire from both Democrats and Republicans. Joining in the fray, McCain said that he wanted to see a change in Trump's behavior.
"I challenge the nominee to set the example for what our country can and should represent," he stated. "Arizona is watching. It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party. While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us."
McCain said in May that he would support the eventual Republican nominee, "who is now presumptively Donald Trump," even as he affirmed Mitt Romney's concerns about Trump's competence regarding foreign policy.
"I would also echo the many concerns about Mr. Trump’s uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues that have been raised by 65 Republican defense and foreign policy leaders," he had said of Romney's letter, published online.