Aug 2, 2016 6:02 PM
NH1 News Political Director
LONDONDERRY – State Rep. Al Baldasaro, a top New Hampshire adviser to Donald Trump on veterans issues, says that Khizr Khan has “disgraced” his son and “used him as a political pawn.”
Khan’s father of a Muslim American U.S. Army captain who was killed fighting in the Iraq War. Khan, accompanied by his wife Ghazala, took to the podium of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last Thursday and in an emotional address talked about his son Humayun, who was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004.
In comments that created a firestorm, the immigrant from Pakistan criticized anti-Muslim language from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying “if was up to Donald Trump, (Humayun) never would have been in America.”
"Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country,” Khan continued.
Then, holding up a copy of the Constitution, he questioned whether Trump had ever read it and said “you have sacrificed nothing.”
In the following days, Trump pushed back against the Khans. While he acknowledged that their son was a war hero, he questioned their motives. That strategy brought condemnation from Democrats as well as some Republicans.
Baldasaro, who served more than two decades as a U.S. Marine, defended Trump’s actions, telling NH1 News on Tuesday “Donald Trump has every right to challenge Mr. Khan because his personal agenda overruled his son being a warrior and it’s shame that he did that.”
Baldasaro, a well-known surrogate for Trump who has a reputation in the Granite State for his blunt and outspoken language, was critical of the media. Asked about the coverage of the Trump-Khan story, Baldasaro said “the liberal media is out of control. What ever happened to First Amendment rights. What ever happened to freedom of speech.”
“You’ve got 90% of the media out there protecting Hillary (Clinton),” he added.
Baldasaro spoke with NH1 News one day after he tweeted out a link to a website that touted a conspiracy theory that claims Khan’s a “Muslim Brotherhood” agent who wants to promote Sharia law in the U.S.
Asked if he believes the unproven and inflammatory allegation, Baldasaro said “I know that Mr. Khan, God bless his son, he’s a warrior. He used his son as a political pawn. And I’ve been bitching and complaining for a long time. Stop using veterans as political pawns. He’s a Gold Star father. I respect that. But he used his son for the wrong reasons.”
Asked what he would say to Khan if he was standing right next to him, Baldasaro said “I would say Mr. Khan, you disgraced your son, who died as a hero. You used him as a political pawn to go after a candidate who you never met.”
And defending Trump’s controversial plan to temporarily ban Muslims from countries with high rates of terrorism from entering the United States, Baldasaro said “Mr. Khan, I’ve been to many of those countries. I’ve served in Desert Shield, Desert Storm. A lot of your fellow brothers want to kill Americans. Whether we like it or not, we have to wake up. They’re here in our country. And who’s next.”
NH1 News has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment, but has not yet received a response.
Baldasaro’s Clinton controversy
While Baldasaro’s well known in New Hampshire, he made national headlines two weeks ago, while serving as a pledged Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Baldasaro, speaking on a Boston radio station, said that “Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.”
“I’m a veteran that went to Desert Shield, Desert Storm. I’m also a father who sent a son to war, to Iraq, as a Marine Corps helicopter avionics technician. Hillary Clinton to me is the Jane Fonda of the Vietnam,” Baldasaro continued. “She is a disgrace for the lies that she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi. She dropped the ball on over 400 emails requesting back up security. Something’s wrong there.”
Baldasaro was referring to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead.
The next day, speaking with NH1 News, Baldasaro said “I’m a veteran. And any other veteran that had a server of classified information, people’s names and things like that, you’re putting other veterans life in danger, and state department workers, special forces, CIA or whatever, in danger. That’s treason. My military mind believes it’s treason,” Baldasaro said.
“Once you’re found guilty, normally it’s a firing squad. You know that was just my opinion, I mean, as a veteran,” he added.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks told NH1 News that Baldasaro “doesn’t speak for the campaign.”
“We’re incredibly grateful for his support, but we don’t agree with his comments.”
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