WOODBURY - Donald Trump is facing backlash after attacking the family of a slain American Muslim soldier, including some criticism from his own party.
Capt. Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber on June 8, 2004. Trump stoked outrage by implying that his mother, Ghazala Khan, did not speak while standing alongside her husband at last week's Democratic National Convention because of their Muslim faith. And he disputed their right to question his grasp of the Constitution.
"He wants to have one set of rights for himself and another set of rights for others. Someone should tell him there's equal dignity, equal set of laws for everyone in this country," said Khan’s father, Khizr Khan.
Ghazala Khan later penned an op-ed explaining that she chose not to speak at the convention because she becomes emotional when she sees images of her deceased son.
Some of America's other Gold Star families, or those who lost loved ones in war, have demanded that Trump apologize.
Michele McNaughton is a Gold Star mother from Centereach who lost her son 11 years ago in Iraq. She says she understands why Mrs. Khan did not speak.
"As for Mrs. Khan not speaking, I understand because sometimes there are times when I'm not strong enough. We have our own moments, and my husband does the speaking. There are other times when I do the speaking because my husband may be having those strong moments,” she says.
Prominent Republicans spoke out Monday against Trump. Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said that while the party has bestowed upon Trump the nomination, "it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us."
Rep. Peter King also said Trump crossed the line in criticizing Gold Star parents.
"Anyone can have their free speech and democracy, but especially someone, family members lost their lives fighting for their country. They're entitled to their opinion. You respect it and you go on,” King says.
President Barack Obama echoed the sentiment, saying the no one has given more for our freedom and security than Gold Star families.
Gold star Dad Bill McNaughton, a registered Republican, said he'll still vote for Trump. "He's not a professional politician. He's not. That's what people are drawn to,” he said.
In later comments, Trump called Capt. Kahn a hero.
The Khans said they want the controversy to go away and never intended to be at the center of a political feud.
AP Wire Services contributed to this report.