The Donald Trump campaign's response to bereaved Muslim American military father Khizr Khan's speech at the Democratic National Convention has been, shall we say, erratic. Trump suggested Khan's wife, Ghazala Khan, had appeared beside him but not spoken as the result of misogynistic Muslim oppression; she subsequently wrote in the Washington Post that Trump was wrong. Trump also asserted that Khizr Khan "has no right" to attack him for being ignorant of the Constitution; as many observers immediately pointed out, the Constitution itself grants Khan that right. Then Sunday night, at about the same time that Trump's running mate Mike Pence put out a respectful statement praising the Khans' son for his sacrifice, longtime Trump adviser and friend Roger Stone escalated things way, way further than all but the most cynical/drug-addled among us could have imagined:
Mr. Khan more than an aggrieved father of a Muslim son- he's Muslim Brotherhood agent helping Hillary https://t.co/mJuUYw60nK— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) August 1, 2016
The link goes to an article on a low-budget conspiracy site, which purports to prove that Khizr Khan is "likely ... a Muslim plant working with the Hillary Clinton campaign" on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. In reality, the Muslim Brotherhood is a conservative Middle Eastern Islamic organization that may have some connections to terrorist activity; in the world of American far-right conspiracy theories, however, the Brotherhood is believed to be seeking to infiltrate and destroy the U.S. government. The article Stone links to asserts that Khizr Khan is connected to elements planning a "military conquest" of the United States, citing an alleged "fatwa" which reveals that the U.S. "will be [brought into] the House of Islam by force in the near future." It also implies that Humayun Khan, an Army captain who posthumously received a Purple Heart, may have been planning a suicide attack on American soldiers. Concludes the piece, threateningly if not quite coherently: "What part of 'they will be in the House of Islam by force in the near future' don’t these democrats understand? More dead Americans?" (The previous article published on the site, incidentally, is titled "The Biggest Church Coverup in All History About Bible Prophecy, Islam and the Soon Coming Armageddon EXPOSED.")*
Given that Trump will presumably now try to distance himself from Stone, it's worth noting that:
- Stone has been a business partner and associate of Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, for more than 30 years.
- Stone has also worked for Trump for many years. Stone was responsible for sleazy, secretly funded ads disparaging a potential casino competitor for which Trump was fined $250,000 in 2000.
- Stone was formally affiliated with Trump's presidential campaign until August 2015 and has by his own admission stayed in contact with Trump since.
Roger Stone is not just some guy; in fact, he appears to have been Donald Trump's primary political adviser for decades. Hell, maybe Trump won't try to distance himself from Stone. Maybe this is the response to Khizr Khan that Trump has decided to go with. At this point, would that really be all that surprising?
*Update, Aug. 1, 2016, at 8:55 a.m.: This paragraph has been updated to include more information about Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy theories.