The Latest: Sen. Ayotte rejects Trump statements about Khans

AP News
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Posted: Jul 31, 2016 6:55 PM
The Latest: Sen. Ayotte rejects Trump statements about Khans

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the presidential campaign (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

One of the more endangered Republican incumbents says she's appalled that Donald Trump would belittle the parents of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq with his insults and disparaging comments about Muslims.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte said in a statement Sunday that Capt. Humayun Khan made the ultimate sacrifice and was a "true American hero." Ayotte said his family deserves support, respect and gratitude and has every right to express themselves any way they choose.

Ayotte she was "appalled that Donald Trump would disparage them" and that the GOP presidential nominee "had the gall to compare his own sacrifices to those of a Gold Star family."

In the firestorm over Trump's comments, the two Republican leaders in Congress — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan — issued statements praising Capt. Khan. But neither made any mention of Trump or backed off their endorsement of the nominee.

Ayotte has said she supports Trump. She is locked in a tough race with New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan.

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6:30 p.m.

The Senate's Democratic leader, Harry Reid, is calling on the top Republicans in Congress to revoke their endorsements of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in the wake of his criticism of the parents of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have praised the sacrifices of the Khan family and Muslim Americans in the U.S. armed forces. While calling for Americans to honor the Khans, both McConnell and Ryan stopped short of criticizing Trump by name.

In a statement issued Sunday, Reid says anything short of revoking their endorsements of Trump is "cowardice" on the part of the Republican leaders.

Reid says "this shouldn't be hard" and calls Trump "a sexist and racist man who insults Gold Star parents, stokes fear of Muslims and sows hatred of Latinos." The Nevada Democrat says Trump shouldn't be president and that "Republican leaders have a moral responsibility to say so?."

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4:55 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says Muslim Americans who serve in the U.S. military should be honored — "period" — and that he would reject any proposal that would require a religious test for entry into the U.S.

The House speaker made the comments in a written statement issued Sunday. He also praised a U.S. Army captain, Humayun Khan, who was killed in a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2004.

The captain's parents have come under criticism from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump for speaking out against his candidacy during the Democratic National Convention.

The bereaved father, Khizr Khan, has called on Ryan to withdraw his support for Trump after the candidate's remarks about the family.

In his statement, Ryan doesn't mention Trump but says Capt. Khan's sacrifice and that of his parents should always be honored.

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3:50 p.m.

Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch (Coke) is refusing to support Republican Donald Trump. But he wants his network's biggest donors to know that, contrary to rumor, he won't be supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton, either.

Koch on Sunday called such a rumor "a blood libel" as he addressed his network's top donors at a luxury resort in Colorado.

The 80-year-old billionaire describes his policy and political network's first priority as "to preserve the country's financial future, and to eliminate corporate welfare."

Koch says that since it appears that neither presidential candidate is likely to support his network in those efforts, they are focusing on what he calls "maximizing the number of principled leaders in the House and Senate who will."

The three-day Koch donors conference ends on Monday.

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3:25 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is disputing Donald Trump's claim that she and other Democrats have rigged the presidential debate schedule so that two of the three match-ups would occur at the same time as NFL games.

Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine says he's "mystified" by what he calls Trump's "bizarre" allegations. Kaine asks, "Is Donald Trump complaining that the framers of the Constitution put the election in the NFL season?"

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates says no political party or campaign was consulted about the dates chosen last year for this fall's debates.

Clinton is promising to attend all the debates, which have been scheduled for September and October.

Clinton and Kaine are in the midst of a three-day bus tour through the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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3:10 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is stopping short of calling out Donald Trump for his criticism of the parents of a Muslim U.S. Army captain who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq.

But McConnell says in a statement Sunday that "all Americans should value the patriotic service of the patriots who volunteer to selflessly defend us in the armed services."

The bereaved father, Khizr Khan, has called on Congress' top Republicans, McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, to withdraw their support for Trump after the candidate's remarks about the family.

McConnell isn't going that far. But he says he agrees with the Khans that a travel ban based on religion — one idea previously floated by Trump — is "simply contrary to American values."

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1:35 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is defending the bereaved parents of a Muslim U.S. Army captain, saying Donald Trump has a "total misunderstanding" of American values and has inflamed divisions in American society.

Clinton tells parishioners in a Cleveland church that Trump's character is questionable because he repaid a family that made the "ultimate sacrifice" with "nothing but insults" and "degrading comments about Muslims."

Khizr Khan (KY'zer KAHN'), who lost his son in Iraq, gave an emotional anti-Trump speech at the Democratic National Convention; Trump responded by suggesting his wife didn't speak because she wasn't allowed.

Clinton said: "I do tremble before those who would scapegoat other Americans, who would insult people because of their religion, their ethnicity their disability. That's just not how I was raised."

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10:50 a.m.

Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday morning to continue his criticisms of Khizr Khan (KY'-zer KAHN'), the father of a Muslim U.S. Army captain who was killed in 2004 by a suicide bomber in Iraq.

"I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!" Trump tweeted.

The tweet came just minutes after interviews with Khan aired on NBC's "Meet The Press" and CNN's "State of the Union." Khan thanked Trump for calling his son a hero, but said the Republican presidential nominee is being "disingenuous" because of his campaign rhetoric.

Khan gave an emotional tribute to his son last week at the Democratic National Convention that was also heavily critical of Trump. Khan's son, Humayun, earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

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10:45 a.m.

Hillary Clinton says controlling her emotions was her biggest concern walking on stage at the Democrat National Convention to become the first woman to lead a major party ticket.

Clinton says she was afraid she might cry after seeing her daughter, Chelsea, on stage. Clinton says also in her mind was how proud her own mother would have been of her. Clinton's mother died in 2011.

In an interview with "Fox News Sunday," Clinton said the moment was "over-the-top emotional" and that "I was pretty concerned whether I'd make it through the speech."

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10:25 a.m.

Hillary Clinton says she has "work to do" to earn voters' trust and move past the "caricature" many people have of her.

In a wide-ranging interview on "Fox News Sunday," Clinton said the majority of voters approved of her work as a U.S. senator and as secretary of State under President Barack Obama. But upon running for any office, she said, "all of these caricatures come out of nowhere, and people begin to undermine me."

Polls have indicated that voters question Clinton's trustworthiness. Clinton said: "I think it's fair for Americans to have questions." But unlike her rival Donald Trump, "I have a long record of public service I can point to that's actually produced results for people."

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10:10 a.m.

The father of a Muslim U.S. Army captain killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq says he appreciates that Donald Trump called his son a hero, but says he finds the Republican presidential nominee disingenuous because of his policies and his rhetoric.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Khizr Khan says Trump showed disrespect toward his wife and that the country needs to be run by someone with a "moral compass."

Khan addressed the Democratic National Convention last week as his wife, Ghazala, stood quietly by his side.

Trump's comments that maybe she wasn't allowed to speak sparked backlash. On Saturday, Trump called their son, U.S. Capt. Humayun Khan, a hero but said the issue was about terrorism and the ability of leaders of the current administration to eradicate it.

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9:34 a.m.

Retired Gen. John Allen says Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has "no credibility" to criticize him about the U.S. battle against Islamic State militants.

Last week, Trump called Allen a "failed general," saying he hadn't done so well in fighting IS.

Allen is a former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and also was the president's former special envoy for the global coalition to counter IS. In that job, he worked to assemble a group of nations to counter Islamic State militants.

Allen says he doesn't think he has to justify himself to Trump, who has never spent time in Afghanistan or Iraq and has never served in the military.

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9 a.m.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is suggesting the U.S. accept Russia's annexation of Crimea if it would lead to better relations with Moscow and stronger cooperation in fighting Islamic State militants.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Trump suggested that the people of Crimea would rather be part of Russia. That runs counter to the Obama administration, which imposed economic sanctions against Russia for annexing the territory in Ukraine two years ago.

The United Nations doesn't want countries to recognize Crimea as part of Russia, and some top Republicans are staunchly defending Crimea against what they say is Russian aggression.