VFW: Stop ‘berating’ Khan family

Donald Trump received a wildly enthusiastic reception at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention last week. But that was last week.

On Monday, the VFW strongly denounced Trump’s attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of a Muslim U.S. soldier killed in Iraq in 2004, who appeared at the Democratic convention last week. “To ridicule a Gold Star Mother is out-of-bounds,” the VFW said. (See the statement here.)

“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, national commander of the group.

Trump woke up Monday ready to keep it up for a fourth day, tweeting at 7:10 a.m.: “Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same — Nice!” Later, he told an Ohio TV station that “what bothered Mr. Khan more than anything else” are his plans to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists.”

Obama: Trump “unfit to serve as president.”

President Barack Obama on Tuesday condemned Donald Trump for his remarks to the family of an army captain killed in Iraq.

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Obama, speaking to reporters, said Trump was “unfit to serve as president” and “woefully unprepared to do this job.”

“The notion that he would attack a Gold Star family that made such extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country, the fact that he doesn’t appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia, means that he is woefully unprepared to do this job,” Obama said at a White House news conference.

Trump fired back in a statement released by his campaign that accused Obama and Hillary Clinton of “single-handedly” destabilizing the Middle East.

Eric Trump: Father’s comments ‘blown hugely out of proportion’

Trump’s youngest son, Eric Trump, on Tuesday said his father’s comments regarding the Khan family were “blown hugely out of proportion.”

Eric Trump, in an interview with “CBS This Morning,” rejected comments made in recent interviews by Khizr Khan that Donald Trump had targeted the family because of their Muslim faith.

“This isn’t a Muslim thing,” Eric Trump said. “ . . . This is an ISIS thing. And this is also an anti-immigration, anti-Syrian refugee thing coming into the country. He doesn’t want to see more Americans dead. My father’s a great patriot. He sees what’s happening around the country and quite frankly, he’s shaking his head.”

Pence and Kaine hit the campaign trail solo

Mike Pence and Tim Kaine hit the campaign trail without their running mates on Monday.

Kaine’s appearance at a “homecoming” rally in Richmond, Virginia, was the first time he headlined an event without Hillary Clinton, since the duo launched a three-day bus tour through the Rust Belt after last week’s Democratic National Convention.

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“Everything I know, everything I’ve learned . . . I’ve learned from you,” Kaine told an energetic crowd of supporters.

Meanwhile, Pence at a town hall in Carson City, Nevada, defended the mother of an Air Force officer who was booed by the crowd after asking Pence how he could “tolerate” Donald Trump’s “disrespect” to the family of slain Army Capt. Humayun Khan.

Pence, who has a son in the Marines, urged hecklers to let the mother speak, telling them, “that’s what freedom looks like.”

After praising Khan as an “American hero,” Pence said, “I have never been around someone more devoted to the armed forces of this country” than Trump.

New York GOP congressman: My vote’s for Clinton

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Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Syracuse) said Tuesday that he will cross party lines to vote for Hillary Clinton, calling her rival Donald Trump “a world-class panderer.”

Hanna, in an op-ed piece in Tuesday’s Syracuse Post, said he has long opposed Trump’s candidacy, calling him “unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country.

The upstate congressman said that while he disagrees with Clinton on many issues, “I trust she can lead.”

“Our response to the public’s anger and the need to rebuild requires complex solutions, experience, knowledge and balance,” Hanna wrote. “ Not bumper sticker slogans that pander to our disappointment, fear and hate.”

McCain: Trump defamed Khans

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said of Trump’s broadsides against the Khan family: “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.”

A statement from McCain said Trump also was wrong for proposals that “suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States.” (Full statement here.)

However, he did not withdraw support for Trump, who last year disparaged McCain’s Vietnam War record as a prisoner.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump ally, told The Washington Post that if McCain was not up for re-election, “he’d just keep his mouth shut.” But Giuliani also said he’d advise Trump to move on from the Khans.

Conspiracy theories floated

Pro-Trump websites such as Breitbart News and veteran dirty trickster Roger Stone are floating far-right fringe theories that Khizr Khan is a “Muslim Brotherhood agent” and his son — awarded the Bronze Star for trying to protect fellow soldiers from a suicide bomb attack — was on an “Islamist mission.”

Looks like a Clinton bounce

The first polls since the Democratic convention indicate Hillary Clinton has improved her standing. A CBS News survey put Clinton at 46 percent to 39 percent for Trump — a 7-point advantage. Between the conventions, they were tied.

A CNN/ORC survey also showed a Clinton bounce, leading Trump 52 percent to 43 percent. The 7-point upswing from CNN’s last poll came even though nearly twice as many voters don’t find her honest and trustworthy as those who do. But she gained 13 points among Bernie Sanders supporters.

A Gallup poll found that by 45 percent to 41 percent, Americans say the convention made them more likely to vote for Clinton. In contrast, by 51 percent to 36 percent, they were less likely to vote for Trump after his convention.

Clinton cash: Campaign raises $90 million in July

Hillary Clinton raised nearly $90 million in campaign contributions last month, according to a statement put out by her campaign Tuesday morning.

The haul is a combination of money raised by Clinton’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties, according to her campaign.

Clinton saw a surge in donations in the 24 hours surrounding her acceptance speech at last week’s Democratic National Convention — she raised $8.7 million between 8 p.m. last Thursday and 8 p.m. on Friday, according to her campaign.

Trump has not yet released campaign contribution figures for July.

Trump: Harassed? Just quit

As Trump stuck by ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes in the face of sexual harassment charges, he was asked in an interview last Tuesday what he would advise his daughter, Ivanka, if she was the target of such abuse.

“I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case,” he told interviewer Kirsten Powers, who writes a USA Today column and is a Fox News contributor.

Said between the lines?

Trump didn’t say what he now says he said about Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine and Crimea. But in any case, he tried to clarify it Monday.

“When I said in an interview that Putin ‘is not going into Ukraine, you can mark it down,’ I am saying if I am president. Already in Crimea!” Trump tweeted. “So with all the Obama tough talk on Russia and the Ukraine, they have already taken Crimea and continue to push. That’s what I said!”

What else is happening

  • Trump booted a baby from a campaign rally on Tuesday. “I love babies,” Trump said before asking a mother and her crying child to leave his rally in Ashburn, Va.
  • Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein has selected a running mate, human rights activist Ajamu Baraka.
  • Trump told an Ohio crowd that he is worried the general election is going to be “ rigged.” If more than just an offhand comment, it would seem to threaten the tradition of peacefully contested elections, The Associated Press reported.
  • On his way into a rally in Columbus, Ohio, Trump accused the local fire marshal of political motives for limiting the number of people in the room. He had the same complaint Friday in Colorado Springs.
  • PolitiFact agrees with The Washington Post — Clinton isn’t to be believed when she said FBI Director James Comey called her public comments about on her email “truthful.” The claim is rated “pants on fire.”
  • Hofstra University says it is still preparing to host the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, despite Trump’s complaints that the event and another debate conflict with NFL football, Newsday’s Tom Brune reports.
  • Trump gave a shout-out on Twitter to the GOP primary opponent of House Speaker Paul Ryan. It appeared to be payback for Ryan’s criticism.
  • Billionaire Warren Buffett, appearing with Clinton at a rally in Omaha, ridiculed Trump’s explanations for failing to release his tax returns, saying, “You’re only afraid if you have something to be afraid of.”
  • Sally Bradshaw, a top adviser to Jeb Bush, said she is leaving the Republican Party and will vote for Clinton if the presidential race in Florida is close. “This is a time when country has to take priority over political parties,” she told CNN.
  • Against advice, Trump is still betting he can turn deep-blue New York in his favor and has a town-hall meeting planned in upstate Plattsburgh Thursday, the Daily News says. Polls show Clinton well ahead in the state, but her favorability is anemic.