A Gold Star father who became a household name after sparring with Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election has received a post courtesy of Trump's successor in the White House. CNN reports that President Biden has named Khizr Khan, a Muslim immigrant and Virginia attorney who founded the Constitution Literacy and National Unity Project, to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. In a White House statement, the septuagenarian is described as "an advocate for religious freedom as a core element of human dignity" who, via his law firm, "devotes a substantial amount of his time to providing legal services to veterans, men and women serving in uniform, and their families." Khan's appointment "underscores the president's commitment to build an administration that looks like America and reflects people of all faiths," the statement added.
Khan—whose son, US Army Capt. Humayun Khan was killed in battle in Iraq in 2004—famously went after then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at the 2016 Democratic National Convention for the latter's derogatory remarks about Muslim Americans. "Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?" Khan blasted Trump at the time, per Axios. "You have sacrificed nothing—and no one." After that, Trump often criticized Khan and his wife, and Politico notes the back-and-forth became "messy" for Trump, with members of his own party rebuking him for going after the Gold Star father. In addition to Khan, Biden also appointed the National Security Council's Rashad Hussain to serve as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, the first Muslim in that role; Emory University Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt as special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism; and New York City Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum to serve with Khan on the religious freedom commission. (Read more Khizr Khan stories.)