Humayun Khan is 'American hero,' kin must be 'cherished': Pence

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Khizr Khan: Trump 'Void' of a 'Moral Compass'

INDIANAPOLIS — More than 30 hours after Donald Trumpsparked outrage by raising questions about the mother of fallen U.S. soldier Humayun Khan, his running mate Mike Pence issued a statement Sunday night saying the Gold Star family "should be cherished by every American."

Trump had questioned why Capt. Khan's mother, Ghazala Khan, did not speak at the Democratic National Convention as her husband delivered a sharp rebuke of the GOP nominee's proposed Muslim ban. "Maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say," Trump said.

RELATED: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence through the years

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence through the years
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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence through the years
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) and Indiana Governor Mike Pence (L) wave to the crowd before addressing the crowd during a campaign stop at the Grand Park Events Center in Westfield, Indiana, July 12, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 07: Mike Pence, R-Ind. (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images)
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, right, talks about the flooding in Indiana to Rep. Mike Sodrel, R-Ind, left, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Fred Armstrong, Mayor of Columbus, during a stop in Columbus, Ind., Wednesay, Jan. 12, 2005. A wave of thunderstorms moved across Indiana overnight, causing some scattered flash flooding in north-central Indiana on Wednesday as already saturated ground could not handle the additional rain.(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Representatives Mike Pence, R-Ind. and Jeff Flake, R-Az speak with reporters outside the White House after meeting with President Bush, Wednesday, April 27, 2005, in Washington. President Bush met with several members of congress to talk about his Social Security agenda. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., who together proposed a bill concerning illegal immigrants, take part in a news conference in San Antonio, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006. Hutchison and Pence toured the Customs and Border Protection Air Operations Center in San Antonio during their visit. Their proposal would require illegal immigrants to cross the border and apply through privately run "Ellis Island" centers to return to the United States on work visas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. takes part in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., center, accompanied by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R- Calif., left, and Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas., listens to comments during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Saturday, April 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Saturday, April 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., meets with constituents during a town hall meeting in Pendleton, Ind., Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Pence announced yesterday that he will not seek the presidency in 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., is surrounded by supporters after announcing his campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor of Indiana during an gathering of supporters in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, June 11, 2011. Pence promised to fight health care reform and federal climate change legislation. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., as he kicks off his campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor of Indiana during an gathering of supporters in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, June 11, 2011. Pence promised to fight health care reform and federal climate change legislation. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature at the Statehouse Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence addresses the Illiana Industry Forum Monday, June 24, 2013, in Rosemont, Ill. Pence was joined by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in hosting a business forum for a planned 47-mile expressway aimed at relieving traffic congestion into the Chicago area. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Dwayne Sawyer speaks after being named as the Auditor of State for Indiana by Gov. Mike Pence during a news conference at the Statehouse Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Indianapolis. Sawyer will complete former Auditor Tim Berryâs term, which runs through 2014. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence talks with Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann before giving his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature at the Statehouse Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, second from left, South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley, second from right, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, far right, listens as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, far left, speaks during a press conference at the Republican Governors Association's quarterly meeting on Wednesday May 21, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence pauses while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 in National Harbor, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks at the National Rifle Association convention Friday, May 20, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
FILE - In this July 3, 2016, file photo, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during a news conference before attending Symphony on the Prairie for a Fourth of July concert in Fishers, Ind. Pence is one of several Republicans Trump is considering for his vice presidential running mate. Trump is expected to announce his decision on Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
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Ghazala Khan has since said she did not speak because she was nervous. Meanwhile, her husband Khzir Khan has been fiercely critical of the GOP nominee, telling NBC's "Meet the Press" thatTrump has no "moral compass" and CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump "is a black soul."

"Donald Trump and I believe that Capt. Humayun Khan is an American hero and his family, like all Gold Star families, should be cherished by every American," Pence said in the statement.

He went on to describe the Middle East as "once stable," and blamed the "disastrous decisions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton" for the rise of ISIS. The statement also said the proposed suspension of immigration from countries "compromised by terrorism" would "reduce the likelihood that other American families will face the enduring heartbreak of the Khan family."

Khizr Khan Calls Trump 'Disingenuous Because of His Policies'

Since accepting his party's nomination, Pence — the father of a Marine Corps officer — has refrained from responding to a parade of controversial statements by his running mate. They include the assertion that Ted Cruz's father was an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald, openness to changing the Geneva Convention to allow for the use of torture tactics, the potential recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea, the embrace of Russia's alleged hacking of DNC emails, and a pitch to increase the federal minimum wage.

More from NBC News: GOP Reacts to Trump's Controversial Remarks on Khan Family

Pence has stayed away from reporters and effectively avoided specific questions on those issues despite telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday morning: "I fully expect in the next 100 days we're going to continue to be available to the media, whether they're fair or unfair, and we're going take our case to the American people directly."

Pence also made the case that bans against specific news organizations barred by the Trump campaign should be lifted.

Since his acceptance speech on July 20 in Cleveland, Pence has only appeared on PBS, three times on Fox News, local affiliates and on conservative radio programs.

RELATED: Governor Mike Pence

He has not held a single interview with a network or a major national newspaper — despite his suggestion last week that he would "continue to be available to the media."

His staff had indicated in the last week that Pence would answer the questions of the traveling press corps, but the campaign has delayed the meeting between reporters and the candidate.

The only interaction that Pence has had with the traveling press since joining the GOP ticket on July 16 was a two-minute encounter last Friday when he and his wife, Karen Pence, delivered birthday cupcakes to a reporter.

But the candidate promptly returned to his seat at the front of the campaign plane and followed by tweeting out a photo of the moment in what could appear to the outside public as evidence of a congenial relationship with the press.

The rest of Friday — in which Pence and the press traveled from Indiana to Ohio and back — came and went with no further effort by Pence to go on the record.

Prior to his selection as Trump's running mate, NBC News asked Pence multiple times whether he would be comfortable disagreeing with his running mate on the campaign trail.

Trump Has History of Standing Firm on Widely Condemned Remarks

"I've taken issue with our candidates from time to time, but I'm supporting Donald Trump as the next president of the United States of America," Pence said on July 12.

But like at Trump rallies, the campaign operation around Pence has quarantined members of the media into a fenced-in press pen in the back of each rally venue, blocking off media access to the candidate inside the event to ask questions.

Pence spent this last weekend at home in Indianapolis with no media appearances, and on Sunday, before issuing his statement on the Khan family, Pence issued just a single other tweet — of himself getting a haircut.

The Indiana governor will head out on the campaign trail Monday for a western swing through Nevada, Arizona and Colorado. The press will attend, as well.

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