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

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.

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Vice President Mike Pence through the years
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Vice President Mike Pence through the years

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., Derek Karachner, Ian Slatter, Molly Jurmu, Mark Ahearn.

(Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., talk during the markup of the bill which would establish the Department of Homeland Security.

(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

(L-R) Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), attorney Floyd Abrams, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and attorney Kenneth Starr speak to reporters in the U.S. Supreme Court Plaza in Washington, D.C., September 8, 2003. Attorneys made arguments during a special session of the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign financing reform law.

(REUTERS/Stefan Zaklin)

Rep. Mike Pence, new head of the Republican conservative caucus, taken in his Hill office. Includes a bust of Ronald Reagan.

(Photo by Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

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)


(Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images)


Pictured: Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) left, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) right, appear on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010.

(Photo by William B. Plowman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence arrives at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 13, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

President-elect Donald Trump takes the stage with Vice President-elect Mike Pence during a rally in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

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Vice President-elect Mike Pence arrives at Trump Tower on December 15, 2016 in New York City. President-Elect Donald Trump continues to hold meetings with potential members of his cabinet at his office.

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Tim Kaine, 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee, left, and Mike Pence, 2016 Republican vice presidential nominee, speak during the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine arrive at tonight's debate with three main assignments: defend their bosses from attack, try to land a few blows, and avoid any mistakes showing them unfit to be president.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (R) as his wife Karen Pence holds the Bible, on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

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Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat SpA, left, speaks with Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, at the Chrysler Group transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Chrysler Group LLC, the automaker majority owned by Fiat SpA, will invest about $374 million and add 1,250 jobs at Indiana factories to boost output of eight-and nine-speed transmissions.

(Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


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Reps. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., left, and Mike Pence, R-Ind, share a laugh at a rally to support a House resolution, scheduled for a vote Thursday, that would require a list of earmarks and the names of lawmakers sponsoring them to be contained in committee and conference reports. The rally took place on Cannon Terrace.

(Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

US Republican Representative from Indiana Mike Pence, gestures as he speaks during a press conference at the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, 01 April 2007. Pence and a group of US Congressmen are on a visit to the war-torn country.

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Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., makes marks on the House health care bill as House Republicans gathered in the House Republicans Reading Room in the Longworth House Office Building on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009.

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U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) speaks during a rally on Capitol Hill April 6, 2011 in Washington, DC. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), thought to be a contender for the 2012 presidential race, also spoke at the rally held on Capitol Hill by Americans for Prosperity in support of spending cuts.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Budget chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks with Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., as they arrive for a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Monday, July 25, 2011.

(Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is seen at the 2015 IPL 500 Festival Parade on May 23, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) while Vice President Mike Pence (C) looks on during a luncheon at the Congress of Tomorrow Republican Member Retreat January 26, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Congressional Republicans are gathering for three days to plan their 2017 legislative agenda.

(Photo by Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images)

US Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence dance during the Liberty ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.


From left, First Lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, Major General Bradley Becker, Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife Karen Pence review the troops following the swearing in of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)


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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