As Donald Trump and the father of a fallen Muslim U.S. soldier continued trading barbs on Monday morning, Hillary Clinton’s spat with the mom of an American who died in the Benghazi terror attack continues to take a back seat.
The dustup between the Republican presidential nominee and Khizr Khan has gotten the headlines, but some are beginning to wonder why equal time isn’t being given to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has challenged Pat Smith’s claims that Clinton told her the Benghazi attack started because of an anti-Muslim video. That origin story has since been proved false and emails sent by Clinton soon after the attack show the then-Secretary of State was aware the Sept. 11, 2012 assault was a coordinated terror strike.
“Why was Pat Smith’s grief minimized?” Trump pollster and senior advisor Kellyanne Conway told Bloomberg Politics on Sunday. “Media cover this election as a referendum on Trump while voters see it as a referendum on Hillary. That won’t change voters’ perspective.”
Meanwhile right-leaning sites such as Town Hall have published headlines blaring “Have we forgotten that Hillary Clinton pretty much called a Gold Star Mother a liar?”
Smith, the mother of Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, made a passionate speech at the Republican National Convention two weeks ago, mournfully remembering her dead son and laying the blame for his murder at Clinton’s feet. Pat Smith has repeatedly said Clinton blamed the anti-Muslim video for inspiring the Benghazi attacks, a charge Clinton has denied.
“Since then, I have repeatedly asked Hillary Clinton to explain to me the real reason why my son is dead,” Smith said during her RNC speech. “I’m still waiting.”
But Clinton said during a Sunday interview on “Fox News Sunday” that Smith must not have correctly remembered their conversation during the 2012 ceremony.
“As other members of families who lost loved ones have said, that’s not what they heard,” Clinton said. “I don’t hold any ill feeling for someone who in that moment may not fully recall everything that was or wasn’t said.”
Clinton’s response is nothing new. During a March Democratic debate, Clinton said of Smith, “I can’t imagine the grief she has about losing her son. But she’s wrong. She’s absolutely wrong.”
But the Clinton-Smith back-and-forth has seen little coverage as opposed to the attention given to the aftermath of Khan’s Thursday speech at the Democratic National Convention, when the father of dead soldier Capt. Humayun Khan rebuked Trump for his proposed Muslim immigration ban.
The squabble between Trump and Khan has morphed into a multi-day drama as Khan has continued appearing on news shows criticizing Trump and Trump has responded via his Twitter account, TV interviews and official campaign statements. Khan has said Trump is a “black soul” and Trump has responded that Khan had “no right” to criticize him on a national stage.
The public quarrel has drawn strong reactions from many top Republicans, who have praised Capt. Khan’s sacrifice and scolded Trump for his rhetoric. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., delivered a stinging critique on Monday morning, saying that “while our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.”