WASHINGTON (AFP, THE WASHINGTON POST) - Donald Trump hit back at accusations from the father of a slain Muslim soldier that the billionaire has "sacrificed nothing" for his country on Saturday (July 30), saying he had employed thousands of people.
Khizr Khan - whose son died in Iraq - accused the Republican presidential nominee of vilifying American Muslims in a steely rebuke that electrified the Democratic convention on Thursday.
"Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America," Khan said to Trump.
"You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one."
Trump brushed off Khan's words in an interview with ABC News'S George Stephanopoulos, stating that he thinks he has made "a lot of sacrifices".
"I work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I've had tremendous success. I think I've done a lot."
“Those are sacrifices?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Sure. I think they’re sacrifices. I think when I can employ thousands and thousands of people, take care of their education, take care of so many things,” Trump said.
“Even the military. I mean, I was very responsible along with a group of people for getting the Vietnam Memorial built in downtown Manhattan, which to this day people thank me for.”
“I raised and I have raised millions of dollars for the vets,” he added.
In lieu of participating in a debate on Fox News earlier this year, Trump held a fundraiser at which he claimed he’d raised millions of dollars for veterans’ charities and given US$1 million of his own.
When The Washington Post investigated, we found that he’d overstated how much had been raised and contributed and that Trump himself hadn’t made a contribution. It was only after that report that Trump wrote a check.
The brash billionaire has meanwhile alienated many Americans with insults against immigrants, Muslims and women during his nomination campaign.
Among his more controversial policy positions has been his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States and suggestions he would back profiling them.
Trump also questioned whether his rival, Hillary Clinton, had been behind Khan's address, which the father said he wrote with his wife Ghazala.
"Who wrote that? Did Hillary's script writers write it?" Trump said in the interview, which is set to air in full on Sunday.
"If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say," Trump said, adding that "maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say."
Clinton released a statement Saturday defending the Khans as "the best of America".
"I was very moved to see Ghazala Khan stand bravely and with dignity in support of her son on Thursday night," Clinton said.
"This is a time to honour the sacrifice of Captain Khan and all the fallen. Captain Khan and his family represent the best of America, and we salute them."