Recently, presidential candidate Donald Trump made headlines when he announced that there should be an “extreme vetting” process for potential immigrants to the United States. According to Trump, such a test would help the United States keep out potential terrorists through questioning applicants about their attitudes towards religious freedom and other topics. One vocal critic of Trump, Khzir Khan, who is both a Muslim and an American citizen, challenged Trump to take his own test.
Khan, who became famous when he spoke out against Trump at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, lost his own son when the younger Khan died fighting for the United States military in Iraq. He has pointed out numerous times that Trump has not served himself in the the armed forces and has voiced his opinion that Trump has sacrificed nothing to fight terrorism whereas Muslims such as Khan’s son have given their lives. Khan’s son died when he volunteered to check out a suspicious vehicle and became the victim of a suicide bomber, saving the lives of his fellow soldiers in the process.
Democratic senator Harry Reid challenged Trump to take the test as well. He believes that if Trump answered the questions honestly, the billionaire candidate would reveal himself as being intolerant and not worthy of being an American citizen because Trump has, in the past, taken positions against gender equality, not supported same sex marriage and generally not been supportive of the underprivileged and marginalized. In fact, Reid pointed out, Trump has even raised the idea of spying on Mosques in the United States for no other reason that the people who attend them happen to be Muslim. Reid went further, calling Trump “spoiled” and a “drain” to society, and he also said that the majority of Trump’s supporters wouldn’t pass the vetting process either.
It remains to be seen if Trump will respond directly to either Khan or Reid. Not long ago, he engaged in a highly public verbal exchange with Khan, which lost him support among many people sympathetic to Khan as the parent of a fallen war hero. Maybe he will learn from this mistake and either take on Reid alone or simply not respond at all although the latter possibility is unlikely.