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Rep. Steve Knight (R-Lancaster) has called Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's verbal attacks on the family of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq "deplorable" after his congressional challenger called for the congressman to disavow Trump.
Democrat Bryan Caforio on Monday called for Knight "to disavow his party’s nominee’s comments immediately and without reservation" and said it was "disappointing" that Knight remained "silent about Trump’s inability to serve as commander in chief while his party’s leader attacks our fallen heroes."
Knight, who had been largely silent about his stance on his party's nominee, released a statement late Tuesday criticizing Trump's comments.
"As someone that has attended funerals and spoken with families of police officers and service members that have lost their lives in service, I recognize the long-term pain that is felt by those that suffer the loss of a family member," Knight, a former LAPD officer, said in the statement.
"To the Khan family and every other family that has suffered a loss like this I am sorry and pray that you will be comforted in knowing that the loss was in hopes of achieving a greater good," he said.
"The recent comments of Mr. Donald Trump toward the Khan family are deplorable. No matter what happens with the upcoming election, it is my hope that Trump will seek to learn more about Gold Star families and the pain that they feel not for just a moment of learning of the loss of a loved one, but a pain that is felt for the rest of their lives," he said.
Knight's political consultant Matt Rexroad said that Knight has not endorsed a candidate for president.
"I don't know that he is planning to endorse anyone," he said.
Caforio, a first-time candidate, is running against Knight in the 25th Congressional District in north Los Angeles County. Once a solid Republican stronghold, the sprawling district is now almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, with 21% of voters listing no party preference.