August 4, 2016 News & Press Releases · Press Releases and Announcements

Profiles in Courage: Tally of Virginia Republicans Who Have Refused to Condemn Trump For Insulting a Gold Star Family in Their Home State

by Democratic Party of Virginia

It has been several days since Donald Trump first attacked a gold star family from Charlottesville, and Virginia Republicans' refusal to condemn Trump is on full display.

National Republican leaders have strongly condemned Trump, Virginia Editorial Boards have widely criticized Trump's comments, and Democratic leaders in Virginia have stood up to his bullying.

But it's not enough: Trump is Virginia Republicans' standard bearer. His comments about a gold star family are unprecedented and disqualifying, and Virginia Republicans are not treating Donald Trump's actions with the seriousness it deserves.

See for yourself:


Ed Gillespie: Twice refused to condemn Trump on his abhorrent comments - even as RGA Chair Gov. Susana Martinez condemned Trump. [RTD, 8/1/2016] [Washington Post, 8/1/2016], [Facebook Post 08/1/2016]

Rob Wittman: Twice refused to condemn Trump on his abhorrent comments. [RTD, 8/1/2016] [Washington Post, 8/1/2016]

Corey Stewart: Refused to condemn and doubled down on his support for Trump. [Washington Post, 8/1/2016]


Bryce Reeves: Completely silent.

Jill Vogel: Completely silent.


Rob Bell: Even though he represents the Khan family in Virginia's House of Delegates, he has refused to condemn Trump.

John Adams: Completely silent.

Chuck Smith: Posted an article on Facebook re-affirming his support for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. Here is an excerpt from the article, in the form of a letter addressed to Khan, "But, there are many Muslims in America who not only have no desire to assimilate, but wish to live under Sharia Law. That is unacceptable to Americans. There is only one law of the land. That is the US Constitution. [...] The security of this great land supersedes your desires and the desires of others who wish to come here now."


Scott Taylor (VA-02): Scott Taylor is the only Virginia Republican who has called upon Donald Trump to apologize; but he still plans to run with Trump in November. [Virginian-Pilot, 8/4/2016]

Mike Wade (VA-04): Completely silent.

Tom Garrett (VA-05): Went so far as to defend Trump 's policy on banning Muslims and said that Trump's comments about Virginia's gold star family merely “hurt somebody’s feelings.” [News & Advance, 8/1/2016]
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06): Issued a statement but refused to denounce Trump. [WVTF 8/3/2016]

Rep. Dave Brat (VA-07): Completely silent.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09): Completely silent.

Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA-10): Twice refused to condemn Trump on his abhorrent comments. [RTD, 8/1/2016] [Washington Post, 8/1/2016]

Virginian-Pilot Editorial Board: “These comments represent a new nadir, even for a presidential campaign historically notable for its ugliness. It’s despicable to compare difficulties in business to the loss of a loved one on the battlefield. And it’s unconscionable for a politician to malign a Gold Star family in order to deflect criticism.[...] To treat one family’s sacrifice so dismissively and cavalierly calls into question his fitness for that role. A man who cannot summon the humanity to empathize with the Khans has no place in the Oval Office.”

News & Advance Editorial Board: A Line Has Been Crossed, Mr. Trump: “Moms and dads of dead soldiers are off limits. That is beneath us, and most certainly beneath a candidate who aspires to be president of the United States.”

Daily Progress Editorial Board: Standing up for heroic local family: “Now it’s personal. Donald Trump has attacked two of our own. But supporting Ghazala and Khizr Khan is not mere parochial partisanship. It’s a defense of old-fashioned individual integrity against small-minded bombast.”

Washington Post Editorial Board: “[The Khans] are right to raise alarms about Mr. Trump’s call to exclude people like them and their son from this country on the basis of their religion. And they are right to question the empathy of someone who thinks nothing of denigrating a mother who lost a son in military service. It is Mr. Trump’s own behavior that is cause for concern. His evident lack of any kind of self-control has ominous implications for how he would respond as president and commander in chief to real crises and emergencies.

Senator Tim Kaine: “Donald Trump has the temerity to trash [the Khan family], and even say stupid things about this poor boy’s mom, who was so overwrought emotionally, even 12 years after her son died, that she said, I can’t stand in front of a microphone and say anything – and, you know, Donald kind of trashes her for that. I mean, is there no limit to which this guy will descend? Trashing the family of a war hero, trashing John McCain for being a POW, saying the American military’s a disaster, when 2 million young American men and women volunteer in a time of war to try to help their country, and Trump goes around saying there’s a – and he wants to be Commander-in-Chief? He wants to be Commander-in-Chief?”

Senator Mark Warner: “The Khans demonstrated the best of America & for that they should be honored not insulted.”

Governor Terry McAuliffe: "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. Donald Trump shows a shocking lack of respect to those who serve in the military. ... It disqualifies him from being commander-in-chief."

Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam: "As an Army doctor, I cared for wounded soldiers in the First Persian Gulf War. I have seen the sacrifice Captain Khan and so many others have made for our country. Virginia is proud of the Khan family and Donald Trump's attack on a grieving mother is a disgrace."

Attorney General Mark Herring: “I was in the arena last week in Philadelphia when the Khans shared their story. What kind of man hears that story of sacrifice, courage, and patriotism…that kind of pride and love from a parent toward their child…and decides to attack? That tells me all I need to know about Donald Trump and about the choice we have this fall.”

Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Leader David Toscano: “It is clear that their family story, and Mr. Trump’s insensitive response to it, has struck a chord with the American public. Their story is one of great sacrifice, and proves again how the American Dream is so powerful with Americans of all ethnic and religious backgrounds.”

Congressional Candidate LuAnn Bennett: “Nothing can take away the painful loss the Khans experience every day. But Donald Trump’s brazen attacks directed at this Virginia family who made the ultimate sacrifice are as nauseating as they are enraging.”

Congressional Candidate Jane Dittmar: “Our Gold Star mothers and fathers are entitled to the utmost respect and gratitude. For Tom Garrett to aid and abet Donald Trump’s despicable attacks on the Khan family is both cowardly and dishonorable, and hardly the actions of someone who claims to support our veterans.”


U.S. Army Veteran Terron Sims: “Donald Trump using his sacrifice and his father’s speech to belittle them both for political gain is unacceptable. I join veterans across the country, Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, in rejecting Donald Trump's pattern of disrespect towards those who have served our nation in uniform.”

Retired Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Kevin Green: “(Trump) is a petulant child who is unfit to lead our military and unfit to lead our country. Period.”

National Military Spouse Network Founder Sue Hoppin:“Divisive and shameful comments from someone who is trying to become Commander in Chief of this country should be swiftly denounced by leaders on both sides of the aisle, and by the American public.”

Raymond Marion of Virginia Beach: ‘When someone equates his or her sacrifice in building a business to the loss of a son who was killed in the defense our country, that person has no sense of compassion. [...] Anyone who would make that statement has no place trying to became president. Trump owes every Gold Star parent an apology.”

Carolyn N. Lindsey of Virginia Beach: “Donald Trump, who has sacrificed nothing and no one, devalues the worth of America’s immigrants, particularly U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, whose father so eloquently mourned him in front of us all.”