CNN's Brian Stelter Shuts Down The Trump Campaign's Attempt To Spin Attacks On Khizr Khan
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From the July 31 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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BRIAN STELTER (HOST): I think what many political pros, as I mentioned, are wondering is why is Donald Trump continuing to respond to Mr. [Khizr] Khan, rather than either staying quiet, allowing Mr. Khan to speak without being challenged or to acknowledge more forthrightly the pain this family is going through?
JASON MILLER: Well let me go and correct you on that point, Brian. Mr. Trump has praised Mr. Khan and in fact has called Captain Khan as a hero. But look, let's be clear about what's going on here, is that this is about --
STELTER: That happened after the fact though. That happened in a statement last night.
MILLER: In the ABC interview, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Khan.
STELER: He called Mr. Khan a nice guy.
MILLER: Yeah. He praised Mr. Khan. But again, Brian, let's get back to what's going on here. The fact is that this is about radical Islamic terrorism and what we have to do as a country to make sure that our borders are safe and to make sure that we're screening people who are coming into this country. That's the larger debate that's going on here.
STELTER: That's not what Mr. Khan's speech was about on Thursday. Let me put on screen a statement from Mr. Trump last night. He seemed to be trying to clean up the ABC interview. In the statement last night, Trump said the following: He said that "Mr. Khan has no right to speak the way he did on stage." Let me get the exact quote, because I don't want to misquote Mr. Trump. Let's see if we can put it on the screen here. He said that, Mr. Trump, "while I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim that I have never read the Constitution, which is false and say many other inaccurate things." The First Amendment to the Constitution allows Mr. Khan the right to stand on stage and say whatever he wants. Why would Mr. Trump say he doesn't have that right.
MILLER: That's not what Mr. Trump is saying at all.
STELTER: That's what the statement said.
MILLER: What he's saying is that Mr. Trump has a right to defend himself. And to make clear what he's saying, this is about radical Islamic terrorism, and for him to be criticized like that he didn't think was fair. So let's get back to the broader point here, the fact that the media is completely --
STELTER: Let's not. Let's put the statement back on screen, the statement on screen says "Mr. Khan has no right to say what he said." You and I, Jason, we both know that Mr. Khan has the right to say whatever he wants to say, right?
MILLER: Brian, Mr. Khan -- this is about, again, this is about radical Islamic terrorism, and this is about what's really going on here, and the fact that the media doesn't want to pick up and cover what's going on with this country. Where was the media outrage following Cleveland when we had supporters and survivors of those who either have been hurt or killed by illegal aliens in this country? There was no media outrage following that. But again, what we're talking about here is radical Islamic terrorism and that's what's important.
STELTER: You keep mentioning radical Islamic terrorism as if that's somehow linked to Mr. Khan. Why do you keep responding that way when I mention him?
MILLER: Because that's the broader debate that we're having. The broader debate that we're having is about the screening and the vetting that we're having for people who are coming into this country --
STELTER: But that has nothing to do with this family, with this Muslim American family.
MILLER: No, this is what the whole broader debate is about right now. This is not about Mr. Trump and Mr. Khan, this is about Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton.