August 2, 2016 News · Press Releases and Announcements

Virginia Gubernatorial and Congressional Candidates Still Refuse to Condemn Trump for Comments About a Family From Their Home State


by Democratic Party of Virginia

A growing list of national Republican leaders are condemning Donald Trump, but Virginia Republicans still refuse denounce his unprecedented statements about a gold star family from their home state.
 
Even the Chair of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), Governor Susan Martinez has condemned Trump.
 
This makes Virginia Republicans' refusal to condemn Trump all the more troubling. 
 
When asked, all three GOP gubernatorial candidates Ed Gillespie, Corey Stewart, and Rob Wittman refused to condemn Trump when given the opportunity and all Virginia Republicans running for Congress have also refused, most notably Barbara Comstock, who issued a statement affirming her support for the Khan family in response to Trump's comments while refusing to denounce his comments. 
 

Congressional candidate Tom Garrett even went so far as to defend Trump and say that Trump merely “hurt somebody’s feelings.” If elected, Tom Garrett will represent the Khan family in Congress. 

"Trump's reprehensible comments have been met with widespread backlash from Republican leaders outside of Virginia - which makes Virginia Republicans' refusal to condemn Trump all the more troubling," said Emily Bolton, Communications Director of the Democratic Party of Virginia. "Each moment Virginia Republicans stand by without condemning Donald Trump, they are supporting his rhetoric, his abhorrent comments about a Virginia gold star family, and his dangerous policies."
 
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe lit into Donald Trump on Monday for his continued attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan of Charlottesville, parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq and outspoken critics of the Republican presidential candidate.

"As the father of a United States Marine, as commander of the Virginia National Guard and the governor of a state most connected to the military, I am out-and-out disgusted by Donald Trump's attacks on a Virginia Gold Star family," McAuliffe said in a phone interview.  "Donald Trump shows a shocking lack of respect to those who serve in the military. ... It disqualifies him from being commander-in-chief."

Washington Post: In Khans' home state, Va. Republicans offer sympathy but don't denounce Trump

Their statements stopped short of criticizing Trump for his attacks on the couple in the days following their forceful condemnation of the presidential contender at the Democratic National Convention.


And that drew fire from their Democratic rivals.

“Any candidate for governor should stand up to a bully when he attacks a Virginia military family,” Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, the only declared Democratic candidate for governor, said in a statement. “Our troops show courage every day and this is not a time for politicians to hide or keep quiet.”

(Gillespie’s) statement did not mention Trump. Through a spokesman, Gillespie declined to explain why.

In a state that is home to the world’s largest naval base and one of the nation’s largest veteran populations, military voters and their families hold sway in Virginia politics. Trump’s unusual foray into a fight with a grieving military family prompted repudiation from military groups. Both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called out Trump on Monday.

Like Gillespie, another Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, praised Kahn but did not directly criticize Trump in response to questions from The Washington Post.

...


In the closely watched 10th Congressional District in Northern Virginia, incumbent Comstock was one of the first state Republicans to comment on the Khan controversy by praising the fallen soldier’s service.

Her Democratic opponent, LuAnn Bennett, on Monday said condolences were not enough.

“Despite all their family has given to our country, my opponent refused to renounce Trump’s attacks on their character,” Bennett posted on Facebook. “With this refusal, my opponent failed the basic test of leadership.”

When asked about this by The Post, a spokesman for Comstock emailed a statement that condemned Trump’s remarks but did not mention him by name.

....

In the contest for an open seat representing the 5th Congressional district where the Khans live, Democratic candidate Jane Dittmar called on her opponent, state Sen. Thomas A. Garrett Jr., to join McCain and other Republicans in denouncing Trump.


Garrett, an Army veteran, said he honored Khan’s sacrifice, but did not directly address Trump’s dispute with the family.
 
In a statement released by his gubernatorial campaign, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor next year, accused his rivals of showing timidity amid Trump's ongoing criticism of Charlottesville couple Khizr and Ghazala Khan.


"Any candidate for governor should stand up to a bully when he attacks a Virginia military family," Northam said.

"I am disappointed that no Republican candidate for governor has denounced Trump's offensive attacks on Virginia's own Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Our troops show courage every day, and this is not a time for politicians to hide or keep quiet."

….

A Gillespie spokesman said Sunday's statement stands as the candidate's sole comment on the matter.

….

In a statement Monday, McCain thanked the Khan family for immigrating to America and said "we're a better country because of you."

"It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party," McCain said. "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."


News & Advance: Garrett backs Trump, fires at Clinton after DNC speech by father of fallen soldier

 
...


On Sunday, Rep. Barbara J. Comstock, R-10th, posted a statement on Facebook that showed support for the Khans but that did not address Trump’s comments directly. In a second statement Monday, Comstock was more direct. [...] “Despite all their family has given to our country, my opponent refused to renounce Trump’s attacks on their character,” Bennett said of the Khans in a statement Monday. “With this refusal, my opponent failed the basic test of leadership.”

 

News & Advance: Garrett backs Trump, fires at Clinton after DNC speech by father of fallen soldier

 
Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Buckingham, turned backlash from Donald Trump’s curt remarks about the parents of a Muslim-American Bronze Star recipient into an attack on Hillary Clinton. [...] Garrett supports Trump’s proposed ban on immigration from Muslim countries with ongoing conflicts involving terrorism.

 

[...] “There’s tone and then there are words. [Trump’s] words were as reprehensible as his tone, but I’m not going to split hairs with my opponent. If he’s condemned what Trump has done, then certainly he deserves to be in that group of candidates that John McCain was talking about,” Dittmar said.

Keep Virginia Blue

Join the Party