AP — Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence defended a military mom's right to criticize Donald Trump's comments about the Muslim parents of a slain U.S. Army veteran during a campaign stop in Nevada, and then lashed out at the media's coverage of the controversy at the next.
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Pence quieted a crowd that was booing a woman who asked Pence at a town hall meeting in Carson City Monday how he could tolerate Trump's disrespect for American servicemen.
"Capt. Khan is an American hero," Pence told a crowd at a Reno hotel-casino later that evening, emphasizing that Trump shares his view. "Capt. Khan and his family, like all Gold Star families, should be cherished by all the people of the United States."
The Republican nominee implied last week that Ghazala Khan, mother of Capt. Humayun Khan, stood silently alongside her husband at the Democratic National Convention because, as a Muslim, she was restricted her from speaking. That comment and others Trump made about the family prompted criticism from fellow Republicans and demands for an apology from the families of fallen soldiers.
During his speech at last week's DNC, Humayun Khan's father, Khizr Khan, questioned whether Trump has read the Constitution, and said the billionaire businessman has "sacrificed nothing and no one," leading Trump to respond.
Pence said he understands and appreciates the attention given to Khan's family. But he doesn't understand "why the media maligned and continues to ignore the moving mother of fallen Air Force veteran and diplomat Sean Smith."
Pence said much of the same media criticizing Trump earlier condemned Patricia Smith's speech at the GOP convention about the U.S. information officer killed in the 2012 attack in Benghazi.
"Let's demand the media listen to and honor all of the families of the fallen in this country," he said.
On Tuesday, Trump's son, Eric Trump, said his father's comments have been "blown out of proportion." Speaking Tuesday to CBS This Morning, Eric Trump said his father is "a great patriot," who "doesn't want to see more Americans dead."