A Republican lawmaker defended Donald Trump Monday amid escalating tension between the GOP nominee and the parents of a fallen Muslim-American soldier, arguing that the Khizr Khan is an attack dog for Hillary Clinton who uses his son “as a shield” from criticism.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), the first House Republican to endorse Trump, told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki that he didn’t agree with Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) condmenation of Trump’s comments. Rather, Collins said he felt Clinton was using the Khan family for political gain.
“At this point, 12 years later, Mr. Khan has decided to enter the fray, attack Mr. Trump in a very inappropriate way when, in fact, it’s Hillary Clinton that ignores the First, Second and Tenth Amendments,” he said. “At that point, I can’t blame Mr. Trump for saying, I’m going to defend my integrity and my understanding of the Constitution.”
Collins went on to point out that Clinton supported the Iraq War, a position Trump repeatedly attacked her for. He then cast Khan as an “attack dog” for Clinton and said that he uses his late son as a “shield” from criticism.
“He’s become Hillary’s attack dog, and every time Donald Trump will say something, he puts up the shield, if you will, of the loss of his son,” he said.
“Mr. Khan is saying I’m immune from anyone criticizing me because my son died in a very heroic loss to the family and also in service of the country,” he continued. “But today he’s taken on a political role as an attack dog for Hillary Clinton, and I think, in that regard, he’s got to take what comes back at him.”
Collins concluded the interview by saying he didn’t not blame Trump at all for the way he acted in response to Khan’s Democratic National Convention speech.
“That was very hypocritical, frankly, of someone to stand next to someone who has absolute disregard for the Constitution and then wave a pocket Constitution out in front of the camera,” Collins said. “That was an insult. We all know Mr. Trump. You take a swing at him, he’s going to punch back. Maybe some of the rest of us in the political world aren’t quite made up of that, but that’s Mr. Trump’s character, and, frankly, I don’t blame him.”