‘Political Insiders’ Split on How Damaging Trump’s Fight with a Gold Star Family will be to His Campaign

Trump KahnOur “Political Insiders” are split on whether Donald Trump’s very public spat with the parents of a dead Muslim-American soldier will hurt his campaign.

Trump lashed out at Khizr Khan after he pulled out a copy of the Constitution during a speech at the Democratic National Convention, asking if Trump had ever read the document. He also said Trump’s immigration proposals would have kept his family from entering the United States. Trump also suggested Ghazala Kahn, Khizr’s wife, was not allowed to speak during the convention because her husband did not permit her to.

Nearly half of the Republicans on our panel said the controversy would hurt Trump, but he would be able to recover by election day. About a quarter said it was a self-inflicted killing blow to his campaign. 20% said the media was blowing the issue out of proportion.

Not surprisingly, a majority of the Democrats on our panel said Trump would be unable to recover from the public fight with the Khans. Most of our readers also felt the same way.


Trump’s has taken some severe damage in the court of public opinion due to the squabble with the Khan family. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday found 79% of Americans disapproved of how Trump handled the situation, including 59% of Republicans.

Selected anonymous comments:

“Trump’s attack on a Gold Star family, including smears about their religion, conflicts with Utah’s values. Shame on every Utah Republican whose thirst for political power leaves them without the courage to condemn Donald Trump’s dangerous candidacy.”

“The media and those who would never vote for Trump are inferring “this guy’s an idiot.” They then go on to manufacture hysteria and load the polls, aka, wagging the dog. Those to whom Trump’s message is targeted, over the heads of the ‘smartest men in the room’, are hearing, Trump is going to protect me from terrorism.'”

“Trump is so insecure that his first and only instinct is to attack when questioned on any point. This will be his undoing, not just this incident, but his inability to respond in a reasoned and rational manner to anyone questioning him on anything.”

“It might not be fatal, but it is definitely a self-inflicted wound. Trump is too thin-skinned. If he expects to win the White House, he needs to learn not to react to every negative comment. On the other hand, his ego will eventually sink him because he can’t seem to stop himself from doing just that (reacting to every comment). He needs to return to elementary school and re-learn what the rest of us took to heart. Sticks and stones…”

“It takes a special kind of talent to put your foot in your mouth while your head is where the sun doesn’t shine. Donald Trump: master contortionist.”

“Isn’t the election already lost? Who is this surprising? Who thought Trump was a person of empathy or compassion before this incident? 2016 is lost. Republicans have to find a whole new slate of good people willing to run in 2020. Hillary Clinton will still be vulnerable then IF Republicans can recover from having nominated a mean, uninformed narcissist for president.”

“It is the gamechanger…finally.”

“I am getting so jaded by this whole fiasco that I don’t really care. This whole mess is very unfortunate. Mr. Trump certainly has a good case of hoof-in-mouth. He needs to put on his “big boy pants” and stop picking fights with everybody in the school yard and focus on what he might do as.. gulp… President of the United States.”

“The Trump supporters are so stupid that he could do or say anything, and it wouldn’t even phase them. The scariest part is that Trump knows this to be true. As he said, he could shoot someone, and it would not impact his popularity. He has been saying crazy, stupid things his whole campaign and yet somehow he is the nominee. I just don’t understand it.”

“I think Trump just chased away any remaining voters who might have chosen him out of party loyalty.”

“Stupid is as stupid does! Why can’t his advisors shut him up? Every time he talks off script, he sounds like an idiot. And I am a Republican.”

“If any other Republican ran we would all recognize the need to win more than white, male, non-college educated voters. Trump has done nothing but carnival-bark to that group and is headed for a landslide loss. This was an election ripe for the picking if the GOP had nominated a moderate and we’ll have a liberal court for decades to come to remind us of our inability to do electoral math.”

“He will recover from this; whether he “recovers” enough to win is another story. Trump’s action here is indefensible, and I do not defend it, but the difference in the media response to this Trumpism and their response to the Democrats who attacked the families of the dead in Benghazi at the Republican convention (non-existent) presents a case study in the media double standard.”

“Talk about a true, heartless scam artist! It amazes that some Americans still think this guy should lead our great nation.”

“Another example of how easy it is for Trump to be distracted from what should be the real targets of his energies. His comments confirm he is petty and mean.”

“Trump’s worst enemy stares at him from the mirror every day.”

“If it were confined to this mistake, he might recover. But it compounded by so many other horrible things he has said or done, and this is the final straw for many in his own party. The Trump Titanic is going down.”

“Just when you think he couldn’t get any worse…”

“Personally, it shows his total lack of maturity – but the masses will forgive and forget. It’s what they do.”

“He will say or do something else that shocks/offends at least a few more times before election day.”

“Donald Trump’s attacks a gold star family have to be the most despicable thing he has done this election cycle. Campaigning 101 tells you honor veterans and kiss babies. Trump has done the opposite.”

“No one, and I mean no one outside of the bubble is paying attention or cares. The one and only thing that will sway this election are going to be the debates which will probably be the highest rated Presidential debate of all time. That first debate will decide everything.”