Conservative media outlets highlighted a section of Khizr Khan’s website that stated he specialized in immigration law to suggest that the real “incentive” for the Gold Star father’s speech criticizing Republicans presidential nominee Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention was that his livelihood could be threatened under a Trump presidency. Khan subsequently told The New York Times that he had received “hateful messages” in the wake of “insinuations… that he was involved in shady immigration cases,” but that he had no immigration clients.
Khizr Khan Criticized Trump’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric, Drew Vicious Attacks From Trump In Response
Khan: Under Trump’s Policies, My Son -- An Army Officer Killed In Iraq -- Could Not Have Immigrated To The U.S. Khan, the father of U.S. Army captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004, criticized Trump during a July 28 speech at the Democratic convention. Khan said that under Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, his son “never would have been in America” because Trump “wants to build walls and ban us from this country,” as reported by The New York Times. Khan asked Trump, “Have you even read the United States Constitution?” and claimed the Republican nominee has “sacrificed nothing and no one.” From a July 29 article:
[S]peaking about his son at the Democratic National Convention, [Khizr] Khan gave a voice to Muslim Americans outraged by the anti-Muslim pronouncements of the Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump.
In a speech that electrified the convention and turned Mr. Khan into a social media and cable news sensation, he waved a pocket Constitution and challenged Mr. Trump, “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
If restrictions on Muslim immigration had been in place decades ago, Mr. Khan said, neither he, a lawyer with an advanced degree from Harvard Law School; his wife, Ghazala, who taught Persian at a Pakistani college before raising three boys in the Washington suburbs; their eldest son, Shaharyar, who was a top student at the University of Virginia and a co-founder of a biotechnology company; nor Captain Khan, who posthumously earned the Bronze Star, along with a Purple Heart, for saving the lives of his men, would have been allowed to settle here.
“If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America,” Mr. Khan exclaimed about his deceased son during his speech, his wife by his side. Mr. Khan said that Mr. Trump “wants to build walls and ban us from this country.”
“Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” Mr. Khan said, addressing Mr. Trump directly, while pulling a miniature version of the country’s founding document from his coat pocket. [The New York Times, 7/29/16]
Trump Responded By Attacking The Khan Family. On the July 31 edition of ABC’s This Week, Trump suggested that Ghazala Khan was not allowed to speak while appearing alongside her husband at the convention, and diminished the death of the Khans’ son by claiming that he, too, had “made a lot of sacrifices” for his country. Trump eventually took to Twitter to say Khan had “viciously attacked” him. Trump’s “sustained hostility toward the Khans” drew criticism of members of the Republican Party. [USA Today, 7/31/16; NPR.org, 8/1/16]
Right-Wing Media Attacked Khan’s Supposed Immigration Work To Suggest That Was His Real “Incentive” To Criticize Trump
Daily Caller: Khan “Is Attorney Specializing In Selling US Citizenship.” In an article headlined, “Father Of Muslim US Soldier Is Attorney Specializing In Selling US Citizenship,” The Daily Caller reported that Khizr Khan is “an immigration attorney whose specialty is a program that critics say allows immigrants to buy their way in the United States.” The article cited Khan’s website, which indicated he “specializes in law related to the E-2 and EB-5 programs, which hands out green cards to foreign investors that put at least $500,000 into certain American firms.” [Daily Caller, 8/1/16]
Daily Caller Editor: It Is “A Possibility” That Visa Work Is Real Reason Khan Spoke Out Against Trump, “We Let The Readers Decide.” During a contentious interview with WNYC’s Bob Garfield, Daily Caller deputy editor Scott Greer defended the story, claiming that Khan “has specialized in giving out visas that could be threatened by Trump’s immigration policies and thus that creates a possible incentive for why Mr. Khan would give a speech and be very opposed to Trump.” He went on to claim that the conservative outlet “merely pointed out what he did in his line of work and we let the readers decide.” Garfield responded that these open-ended notions that invite readers to draw the most sinister conclusions” and that the report “sounds like the work of an opposition research team.” From the August 5 edition of WNYC’s On the Media:
BOB GARFIELD (HOST): On the subject of subtext, what are we to make of this story in The Daily Caller, “Father of Muslim U.S. soldier is attorney specializing in selling U.S. citizenship”?
SCOTT GREER: Yes, as a lawyer in his practice he has specialized in giving out visas that could be threatened by Trump’s immigration policies and thus that creates a possible incentive for why Mr. Khan would give a speech and be very opposed to Trump. It's a story that is of interest to the American public, we put it out there, it’s something that they can interpret, and it is a possibility that if Trump’s –
GARFIELD: Khan’s an immigration lawyer, serving client who wish to get legal status here, using the applicable law to help them. Neither in your story nor anywhere else is there any evidence or any accusation whatsoever of him being implicated in any scandal or abuse of visa statues, and by the way, if it becomes harder for a visa candidate to get a visa, then a lawyer’s services become more, not less, in demand. Selling U.S. citizenship? That’s essentially accusing him of committing a crime. I ask you the relevance.
GREER: We did not accuse him of engaging in any corruption or scandalous behavior, we merely point out what he did in his line of work and we let the readers decide. We did not put out a declaration, “This is definitely why he’s opposed to Trump." We’re just saying that yes, it is a possibility that somebody specializes in immigration law and is dependent on easier access to these visas --
GARFIELD: Oh, and also his son was blown to pieces while serving his army unit in Iraq.
GREER: Well how does that deal with Trump? Is Trump responsible for his death?
GARFIELD: These open-ended notions that invite readers to draw the most sinister conclusions, it sounds like the work of an opposition research team. [WNYC, On The Media, 8/5/16]
Wash. Examiner: “Khan Specializes In Visa Programs Accused Of Selling U.S. Citizenship.” [Washington Examiner, 8/1/16]
Breitbart News: Khan Has “Ties To Controversial Immigration Programs That Wealthy Foreigners Can Use To Essentially Buy Their Way Into The United States.” [Breitbart News, 8/1/16]
WND: “Trump Critic [Khan] Financially Benefits From Unfettered Pay-To-Play Migration Into U.S.” [WND.com, 8/2/16]
Pamela Geller: Khan “Is IMMIGRATION LAWYER Specializing In Visa Programs Accused Of SELLING US CITIZENSHIP.” [pamelageller.com, 8/2/16]
Khan Says He Has No Immigration Clients But Has Received “Hateful Messages” Following “Insinuations” To The Contrary
NY Times: Khan Says He Received “Hateful Messages” Following “Insinuations” He “Was Involved In Shady Immigration Cases.” In an extensive profile of the Khan family, The New York Times reported that Khan took down his law firm’s website because he was receiving “hateful messages” in the wake of “insinuations … that he was involved in shady immigration cases.” Khan told the Times “he has had no clients come to him for that sort of work.” From the August 5 New York Times article:
In recent years, [Khan] had gone out on his own as a legal consultant. A few days ago, he took down the website promoting his law work. He said that he was getting hateful messages and that he was worried about it being hacked. Insinuations were being made, that he was involved in shady immigration cases. He said he has had no clients come to him for that sort of work. He said he did commercial law, especially electronic discovery work. [The New York Times, 8/5/16]