Donald Trump's temperament is "not the issue" in a controversy over his criticism of the bereaved family of a Muslim war hero, it's about "the country not working," his top adviser said Sunday.
In an interview on NBC News' "Meet The Press," campaign manager Paul Manafort said Trump "of course, feels sorry" for Khizr Khan and his wife Ghazala, whose son Army Capt. Humayun Khan was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004.
"That's not the issue," he said. "The issue Mr. Trump is talking about, and I expect the media should be talking about, is protecting the American homeland from national security risk and terrorists."
"Seventy percent of the American people don't believe a thing she says," Manafort said of Hillary Clinton. "The country is not working."
Similarly, he said the hack of the Democratic National Committee's emails wasn't about the primary election process being "rigged against [Sen. Bernie] Sanders."
"Mr. Trump is making the point: Isn't it ironic 33,000 e-mails that our FBI can't have, that may go to national security issues, are sitting probably in the vaults of foreign countries, friends and enemies alike," he said.
"It's just the Clinton narrative is putting out their talking points because they know anything she says won't have any credibility — and they are getting [the media] to cover it from their standpoint instead of the standpoint of the American people."
Manafort also asserted Trump, who has objected to a debate schedule with Clinton, is eager for the face-offs, but "wants then to have the largest audience."
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