Biden Appoints Trump Critic Khizr Khan To US Commission On International Religious Freedom

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion

Joe Biden is appointing Khizr Khan, who infamously attacked President Trump during the 2016 campaign, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. On Friday, Biden announced that the Trump critic’s appointment alongside three others, including Rashad Hussain, Deborah Lipstadt, and Sharon Kleinbaum.

Democrats are seeing the appointment as a “clear shot at Donald Trump.”

“Today’s announcement underscores the President’s commitment to build an Administration that looks like America and reflects people of all faiths,” said Biden in a statement. “Hussain is the first Muslim to be nominated to serve as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and Lipstadt is a renowned scholar of the Holocaust and antisemitism.”

As detailed by the White House:

Khizr Khan, founder of the Constitution Literacy and National Unity Project, is an advocate for religious freedom as a core element of human dignity. After immigrating to the United States in 1980, he attended Harvard Law School and obtained his LL.M degree. He is licensed to practice law before the Supreme Court of the United States, various Federal District Courts, and Washington, DC and New York State courts. In his law practice, he devotes a substantial amount of his time to providing legal services to veterans, men and women serving in uniform, and their families.

Khizr Khan is a Gold Star parent of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan. Capt. Humayun Khan was a University of Virginia graduate who was killed while serving in Iraq as he stopped an attack on his camp and saved the lives of scores of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery Section 60 with full military honors.

So why does it matter? According to Axios, Khan’s son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed on the battlefield while fighting in Iraq in 2004. Khan exploded into the public eye during the 2016 Democratic National Convention when he criticized Trump for his remarks about Muslim Americans.

“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?” Khan asked at the time. “Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing — and no one.”

At the convention, Khan spoke about how his 27-year-old son died in a car bombing while trying to save other troops. Khan did not hold back in his criticism of Trump, alleging that the then-presidential hopeful “consistently smears the character of Muslims.” Khan also held up a pocket-sized copy of the constitution to ask if Trump had ever read it. His wife stood silently by his side.

Following Khan’s appearance at the DNC, Trump criticized Khan, suggesting in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that only Khan and not his wife had spoken at the DNC because the family’s Muslim traditions would preclude her from being able to say anything.

Khan responded to the interview, lashing out once again at Trump to say that his wife had not spoken at the convention because it was simply too painful for her to talk about her son’s death in public, and described Trump “void of feeling the pain of a mother who has sacrificed her son.”

Khan would eventually endorse Biden ahead of the 2020 election.

For all of Trump’s criticism of Khizr Khan, he had only good things to say about the fallen soldier, whom the former president described as a “hero.”

“While I feel deeply for the loss of his son,” said Trump in an interview with New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, “Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things.”

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