New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday broke from the candidate he is campaigning for, telling reporters that Donald Trump’s attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan are “inappropriate” and the Khans have the right to say “whatever they want” after losing their son in the line of duty.
“I didn’t see Mr. Khan’s speech at the DNC but I’ll just say this: I’m a father and I just cannot imagine the pain of losing a child under any circumstances,” Christie said during a press conference at the statehouse, as quoted by Politico. “For Mr. and Mrs. Khan, the pain of losing their son while defending our country is unfathomable, and I think it gives them the right to say whatever they want, whether they’re right or wrong.”
Christie also emphasized the need to honor the sacrifices of both U.S. Army Captain Humayan Khan, who was killed in a suicide bombing, and his parents, saying, “to focus on anything other than that, to me, is missing the point.”
“Any comments that we’re making publicly or privately should be with that in mind,” he said, as quoted by Politico. “My view on this is that the Khans have a right to say whatever it is they want regarding the loss of their son and that for all the Gold Star families out there, they have put forward a sacrifice that I cannot fathom as a parent.”
Trump has not apologized for criticizing the Khans, who told the story of their son’s sacrifice for his country in one of the most talked-about speeches at last week’s Democratic National Convention.
On Monday night, the GOP nominee suggested Khizr Khan said “horrible things” about him first because Khan was “bothered” about the Republican’s plans to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the country through stronger border security.
Although he was an outspoken critic of the businessman during the primary, Christie has in recent months become a member of the campaign’s inner circle. In private, he has lobbied on Trump’s behalf to donors and party top brass and has also appeared at campaign events with the billionaire.