The Honorable Paul Ryan
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515
August 1, 2016
Dear Speaker Ryan:
Thank you for your service as Speaker of the House. While we may not agree on various issues, we respect your decency. We were heartened by what you said when you became Speaker: "Pray for a deeper understanding, because-when you're up here, you see it so clearly-wherever you come from, whatever you believe, we are all in the same boat."
As freshman Members of Congress, we hope to be a part of this great institution in future years and are deeply concerned about its integrity. As veterans who previously served on active duty, we are horrified by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's slander of parents whose son died serving our country. Mr. Trump has already made a series of racist and sexist statements. But the profound disrespect Mr. Trump has shown toward Gold Star parents is a new low.
Your continued endorsement of Mr. Trump's hateful, bigoted and sexist vision threatens the integrity of the House of Representatives in which we serve. We were heartened by your first instinct, which was to not endorse Mr. Trump. We respectfully request that you follow what we believe your heart is telling you and withdraw your endorsement of him now.
Mr. Trump's recent comments are not just cruel; they disrespect our military personnel and military families. When we served on active duty, it was crystal clear to us that what makes our military great is that no one cares what color you are, whom you love, or what religion you practice. All that matters is whether or not you can perform your duty to our nation with excellence.
U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan went above and beyond the call of duty. He was killed in Iraq when a car blew up after he told his troops to stand back. He took 10 steps forward to check the vehicle himself, saving the lives of the soldiers he led.
Mr. Trump's slander of Captain Khan's parents not only dishonors Captain Khan's service, it dishonors all Americans. Attacking Gold Star parents is an attack on America.
Mr. Speaker, we agree with your eloquent words that we are all in the same boat. We urge you to follow your own words and withdraw your endorsement of Donald Trump.