While Khizr Khan and Trevor Noah didn’t bring up Donald Trump’s recent attacks on the family of deceased U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson in the broadcast version of their interview on Monday’s Daily Show, they didn’t have to to get Khan’s point across. (In the post-air extended version of the interview, Khan does address the deaths of the four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger this week, saying that “their privacy, their dignity was not granted the way it should have been.”) Khan, on The Daily Show to promote his new book An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice, famously spoke out against Trump’s nomination as the Republican candidate for president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention alongside his wife Ghazala, condemning the candidate’s then-recent call for a Muslim ban, his “Mexicans are rapists” ignorant slander, and a whole lot more truly reprehensible statements most people imagined would disqualify Trump from ever holding the highest office in the land. As Khan said on Monday, he’s appeared at some 162 events since then, as Donald Trump in the White House has done nothing but sow the “division and hatred” he and his “coterie of advisers” promised, their “bigoted statements” and “authoritarian mentality” antithetical to everything Khan’s late son died for.
Khan, asked by Noah about being a Gold Star parent, spoke throughout the interview with a distinguished presence that belied the obvious sorrow and anger of his replies. Khan stated that, while “nobody wishes to wear this gold star, and you don’t wish anybody to wear this gold star,” he does so as a testament to, as he put it, “all my sons and daughters who have sacrificed” in order to honor the freedoms those people in the White House treat so disrespectfully. (You know, like waging a days-long Twitter war and disinformation campaign against the family of another dead soldier and a congresswoman in order to score political points, cover their own asses, and/or pander to a bigoted white base by disrespecting some more high-profile black people.) But Khan, while clearly offended by those—both inside and outside America—who “do not wish us well” and mock our institutions in order to undermine them in the eyes of the world, had the Daily Show audience in rapt silence as he asserted that the America his Muslim, foreign-born son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, gave his life for in Iraq back in 2004 is worth that unthinkable sacrifice—and our continuing vigilance. Telling Noah that his son, while born in the United Arab Emirates, “was made here,” Khan urged Americans to follow his son’s example and stand up not only for the embattled values that America is supposed to represent but also those under attack by people all too eager to demonize others (such as Muslims and immigrants like Humayun Khan). “I am an American patriot not because I was born here,” said Khan with a dignity Donald Trump couldn’t muster in a thousand years, “but because I was not.”