Trump on Khan: My position on terrorists and border security is what's really bothering him

BuzzFeed (and Daily Kos, among others) are treating this as Trump accusing Khan of being pro-terrorist. I don’t think that’s what he meant. Although, at this point, who the hell knows.

“Well, I was very viciously attacked, as you know, on the stage,” Trump told Columbus’s ABC affiliate ABC6, when asked about Khan’s DNC speech. “And I was surprised to see it. And so all I did — I have great honor and great feeling for his son, Mr. Khan’s son. But, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s a hero.”

When the interviewer brought up Trump’s position on border security, Trump said, “It’s a very big subject for me. And border security’s very big. And when you have radical Islamic terrorists probably all over the place, we’re allowing them to come in by the thousands and thousands. And I think that’s what bothered Mr. Khan more than anything else.

DKos’s headline: “Donald Trump now calling Gold Star father a terrorist sympathizer.” Is he? Khan is an immigration lawyer. The subject of his convention speech was immigration, in particular Trump’s Muslim ban: “He vows to build walls, and ban us from this country.” I took Trump here to mean nothing more than that Khan may prefer looser borders in order to make it easier for immigrants to come to the U.S. but that that’s impossible in an age of terrorist infiltration. He wasn’t accusing Khan of sympathizing with terrorism so much as downplaying it in the interests of keeping the borders porous for law-abiding foreigners. Which makes Khan no different from any Democrat, really.

But maybe BuzzFeed and I both have it wrong. Gabe Malor tells me that he watched Trump’s rally last night and heard him say something very similar to the quote above onstage — except that, at the rally, Trump referred to Captain Khan, not Mr. Khan. In other words, “Mr. Khan” here may be a reference to Khizr Khan’s son rather than Khizr himself, with Trump implying that the younger Khan, as an American soldier, was naturally “bothered” by terrorism and would have appreciated the value of tighter borders to keep them out. Not even Trump would be so stubborn as to triple down in his war of words with the Khans and suggest the parents are terrorist sympathizers. I think?

Judge for yourself. Click the image to watch.