Military Mom Gets Booed at Mike Pence Rally

By Steven Klett, Epoch Times
August 2, 2016 Updated: August 2, 2016

The controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s response to the Khan family, who lost their son in combat in Iraq in 2004, continues as the political candidates took to the road and held rallies in important swing states. 

Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, held a rally in Carson City, Nevada on Monday August 1st, where a mother of a service member asked him a question about Trump’s treatment of veterans and the Khan family.

The woman, who first introduced herself as a mother of a member of the Air Force, received a welcoming applause.

However, that applause was followed by an uncomfortable question. 

“Time and time again, [Donald] Trump has disrespected our nation’s armed forces and veterans. And his disrespect for Mr. Khan…,” she began to jeers and boos.

“Why are you here?” yelled one Trump supporter. 

The mother, identified as Catherine Byrne of Carson City, continued with her question, pressing the Vice Presidential nominee on Trump’s position over the boos in the audience.

“You’ve got a son in the military, how do you tolerate this disrespect?” she asked Pence, referring to his son Michael, a Second Lieutenant in the Marines.

“That’s what freedom looks like, and that’s what freedom sounds like,” Pence said after the boos died down.

“Capt. Khan is an American hero and we honor him and honor his family,” he said. “The story of Capt. Khan is an incredibly inspiring story.”

However, Pence went on to defend Trump and his work with veterans.

“I have never been around someone more devoted to the armed forces of this country,” Pence said of Trump. There is “no one more devoted to the veterans in this country.”

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Trump said that Ghazala Khan, mother of Capt. Humayun Khan, stood silently alongside her husband at the Democratic National Convention because “maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”

That comment and others that the Republican nominee made about the family prompted criticism from fellow Republicans and demands for an apology from the families of fallen soldiers.

It has also provoked criticism from groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars who released a statement stressing that the the attack on the mother was “out-of-bounds.”

“Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression,” said Brian Duffy, of Louisville, Kentucky, who was elected July 27 to lead the nation’s oldest and largest major war veterans organization.

Trump has tweeted multiple times defending his remarks.

During his speech at last week’s DNC, Humayun Khan’s father, Khizr Khan, questioned whether Trump has read the Constitution, and said the billionaire businessman has “sacrificed nothing and no one,” prompting Trump to respond.

“I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures,” Trump said in the ABC interview.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.