Ben Carson, the former neurosurgeon and past GOP presidential hopeful, suggested Wednesday that Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a fallen Muslim American war hero, slandered Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
The Khans, whose son died fighting for the United States in Iraq, have garnered national attention for their appearance at the Democratic National Convention. The searing speech delivered by Khizr Khan condemned Trump and his anti-Muslim attitude.
“I recognize that they are grieving, and very often they will say and do things out of that grief; I think we should just give them a pass and move on,” Carson said of the Khans.
“I don’t think it would be harmful if [the Khans] apologize to [Trump], and he apologizes to them. But I don’t see that happening,” Carson said.
Trump and his supporters responded to the speech by attacking the family, with Trump invoking stereotypical notions of Muslim women, stating, “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”
When asked why the Khans should apologize to Trump, Carson said Wednesday that “if you accuse someone of something that’s not true, it usually is a reasonable thing to acknowledge that.”
During the interview, Carson, who is an adviser to Trump, repeatedly stressed to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the controversy between the Khans and Trump is among the “peripheral issues that don’t mean anything.”
He suggested that “rather than make this a one-sided issue,” we should all agree to “back off a little bit.”
“We have such important issues to deal with, and let’s just call a truce,” Carson said.
“I’m hopeful that as time goes on, everybody on both sides of the aisle will simply adopt a position that we’re not going to make these the issues,” Carson added. “If our founders had gotten caught up in all of these little things and not dealt with the big issues, we wouldn’t even have this country today.”