Conservative Military Families Are Apparently Still Down With Trump

When I first heard the statements that Donald Trump made about the Khan family, I thought, “Holy shit, he finally might have gone too far. This is the nail in Trump’s coffin!”

But you know what? The exact opposite happened. Being from a Gold Star family, I would have sworn that everyone in the military community would have dumped him after this. I thought that this would be his demise, the great fall from the pedestal. But when I decided to ask another Gold Star family and a Trump supporter I know who are pro-military if this is something that really matters, they said no.

And even more surprisingly, five others I asked about the story had no idea what I was talking about. This was especially surprising since most of the country’s major newspapers led with the story this morning. My social media feeds were dominated by news of the debate. The New York Times even called it an “unexpected flash point.”

But apparently, liberals were the only ones talking about it. What I thought would be Trump’s undoing among conservatives was barely even noticed by them.

First, the backstory: at the DNC last week, the parents of a fallen Muslim U.S. soldier spoke and opened up a few questions to Trump who, if elected, has promised to stop all Muslim immigration into the country and patrol Muslim communities.

Trump responded, saying that as a businessman, he too had made sacrifices like this family who lost their son.

I lost my dad overseas when I was only 10 in a helicopter crash, and Trump will never know what that is like. He has no idea what it’s like every year when my birthday rolls around, and I think about how my dad isn’t here.

And it’s hard. It’s nothing like Trump’s idea of a sacrifice, which is probably something like skipping a family dinner so he can go attempt to make more money. He will never know the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I think about my future, like graduating college and getting married and having children. My dad is and will always be missing from these things.

To be brutally honest, I really envy Trump for not knowing what this feels like. Shit, if I could be that ignorant and think that the sacrifice of losing my dad overseas was the equivalent of Trump’s sacrifices, I would do it in the blink of an eye, no questions asked.

But this knowledge I have, that’s my sacrifice.

And there are some of us who understand our sacrifice is one that not everyone would relate to, and Trump should be given some leeway for it. Audrey Mundell from Brandenburg, Kentucky, lost her husband Mike overseas in 2007. But she still isn’t anti-Trump despite his comments.

Audrey thinks it’s a matter of perspective. The reason Trump’s statement on the Khans wouldn’t change her opinion on him is, “because even though our sacrifice is the greatest one there is, someone’s sacrifice, whatever they deem that to be is still a sacrifice to them. I have always believed this, even before Mike was killed.”

“Who am I to deem someone’s else’s sacrifice less than mine when to them, it is still a sacrifice?” she said. “I don’t really know their life or truly what sacrifices they have made. He knows his sacrifices aren’t equal to losing someone in war, but again still sacrifices. I suppose it’s all about perspective?”

John Mocko, who lost his nephew overseas, says that this situation will not change anything for the Trump supporters and that regardless, Hillary still handled Benghazi worse than Trump handled this one.

“Trump was insensitive in his initial response, but has clarified since. Hillary called a Gold Star Mother a liar after Benghazi,” John says. “I’m still supporting Trump because I believe he is best for America, Hillary loves herself.  She still says Benghazi was caused by a video to the American people, even after she emailed her daughter and the Prime Minister of Libya that it was a terrorist attack.”

It genuinely shocks me, as someone who knows this kind of loss, to hear people who also have experienced something similar still supporting Trump. And you would think they would have sided with the Khans.

Mrs. Khan didn’t speak at the DNC, and Trump assumed it was because of her religion, but in an opinion piece published by the Washington Post, she said, “Donald Trump said he has made a lot of sacrifices. He doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means.”

And she’s right. To be honest, if I were in the same position, I probably wouldn’t be able to speak either.

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