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Gold Star mom Becky Lourey, Minnesota legislators call Trump’s feud with Khans disrespectful

Becky Lourey comforts her husband Eugene Lourey during a memorial service for their son Matthew Lourey at East Central High School near Askov in June, 2005. U.S. Army CW4 Matthew Lourey was killed when his Kiowa Warrior helicopter was shot down near Baghdad, Iraq. Also pictured is Matthew's wife Capt. Lisa Lourey. (file photo / News Tribune)1 / 2
Khizr Khan, who's son Humayun (L) was killed serving in the U.S. Army, speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson2 / 2

ST. PAUL — Minnesota legislators and a Gold Star mother joined in the chorus of rebukes against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Tuesday for his feud with a Muslim-American couple who lost their son in the Iraq war.

Former state senator Becky Lourey, who became a Gold Star mom 11 years ago when she lost her son in combat in Iraq, said Trump should apologize to Khizr and Ghazala Khan for his comments after their brief speech at the Democratic convention last week.

“I don’t think the Khans expect it, but it if it came from his heart then I think he should apologize. Maybe he could end up meaning it,” said Lourey of Kerrick, Minn., who lost her son, Matt, when his helicopter was shot down north of Baghdad.

The controversy has been growing since the Khans, the parents of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan who was killed by a bomb in Iraq 12 years ago, criticized Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the United States, holding up a copy of the U.S. Constitution and suggesting Trump read it.

 State Rep. Rob Ecklund, D-International FallsSince then, Trump has complained he was "viciously" attacked by the couple and suggested Ghazala Khan might not have been "allowed" to speak, implying her silence reflected restrictions placed on women by some traditional Muslims.

Lourey was joined Tuesday in a conference call organized by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Minnesota campaign by two military men who serve in the Minnesota Legislature — DFLers Rep. Rob Ecklund of International Falls and Rep. John Lesch of St. Paul.

All three used the word “disrespectful” for Trump’s feud with the Khans.

State Rep. John Lesch, D-St. PaulThey went further by saying they didn’t think Trump was “fit to be commander in chief” — repeating a theme of Clinton’s campaign.

Lourey said she was “dismayed and horrified” about Trump’s “lack of empathy” for a fellow Gold Star family, who are those who have lost loved ones in combat fighting for the U.S.

“What’s ironic is that my son died for Trump’s right to speak,” Lourey said. “He has no idea what sacrifice is.”

Ecklund, a Marine Corp veteran, said it was “so disrespectful to demonize a Gold Star family that only should be honored.”

He called Humayun Khan, a decorated soldier, a “Muslim-American war hero.”

Lesch, a National Guard lieutenant who has served in the Legislature for 14 years, said Trump’s disrespectful words “have no place in this country.”

Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump, told Reuters on Monday that the campaign had asked for support from Republicans in Congress.

A senior Senate Republican aide, who asked not to be identified, said Republican senators were pleased with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's statement on Sunday calling Captain Khan "an American hero" and noting "a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values."

The aide said the controversy would probably not cause Republican senators to withdraw their endorsements of Trump.

Reuters contributed to this report