- Associated Press - Monday, August 1, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Donald Trump is headed to Wisconsin, where some of the state’s Republican officials have been distancing themselves from politically charged comments he made about the parents of a soldier killed in action.

The Republican presidential nominee plans to hold a rally in Green Bay on Friday, his first Wisconsin stop since the state’s April primary. It comes a week after Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, campaigned in Republican-heavy Waukesha.

But the Wisconsin stop also comes as Republicans in the state who have supported Trump once again find themselves backing away from comments he made.

Trump has been engaged in an emotionally charged feud with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the bereaved parents of a decorated Muslim Army captain who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq. He further stoked outrage by implying Ghazala Khan did not speak while standing alongside her husband at last week’s Democratic convention because they are Muslim.

Gov. Scott Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who are both Republicans who have endorsed Trump, said on Sunday that criticizing the family of a fallen soldier should be off limits.

“I don’t care what they say. You’ll never hear me question anything about a Gold Star family,” Walker said. “I’ve gone to too many funerals, met too many families. What they’ve sacrificed is just unbelievable.”

Ryan issued a statement defending the Khan family without mentioning Trump.

“Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice,” Ryan said. “Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice - and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan - should always be honored. Period.”

It’s been an uneasy alliance for both Ryan and Walker with Trump. They were both late to endorse him - Walker backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Wisconsin’s primary - and they have also previously criticized Trump over comments he’s made questioning the fairness of a judge because of his Hispanic heritage and his proposal to temporary ban Muslims from entering the country.

But Walker and Ryan, along with Sen. Ron Johnson, all appeared at the national convention two weeks ago and gave full-throated endorsements of Trump. Walker also appeared at the Pence rally in Wisconsin last week.

Johnson, who is locked in a tight re-election contest with Democrat Russ Feingold, issued a statement Monday praising the Khan family but not mentioning Trump.

“Captain Humayun Khan and all the Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country deserve our deepest respect and gratitude,” Johnson said. “I will always work to serve our nation’s service members and veterans, and honor those who gave their lives to defend our freedoms.”

Feingold campaign spokesman Michael Tyler called on Johnson to drop his support for Trump. Johnson had said in May that he would withdraw support for Trump or anyone else “if they would say something that crosses a line.”

“Enough is enough,” Tyler said. “It’s time for Senator Johnson to do what’s right.”

Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign issued statements from three military veterans from Wisconsin denouncing Trump ahead of his planned visit.

Johnson’s campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment or whether he’d be joining Trump in Green Bay. Ryan’s campaign spokesman, Zack Roday, said Ryan had events in his southeastern Wisconsin congressional district and would not be there.

Walker’s campaign spokesman, Joe Fadness, had no immediate comment on whether Walker would join Trump in Green Bay. While Walker has endorsed Trump, they have not appeared on the same stage together since the Republican presidential debates last year when they were running against one another in the GOP primary.


Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP and find more of his work at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/scott-bauer

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide