(CNN)For the last week, headlines have focused on the war of words between Donald Trump and Khizr Khan, the man whose Muslim-American son died in the Iraq War and who spoke out against the Republican candidate at the Democratic National Convention.
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So it might come as a surprise to hear a group of Gold Star families describe a private meeting with Trump as “warm” and “compassionate.” But Karen Vaughn, whose son Aaron, a Navy SEAL, died in Afghanistan, said she left it feeling that Trump understood where the families were coming from.
“If I could describe his demeanor with us, it was gentle, soft-spoken and tender,” Vaughn told CNN’s Ana Cabrera.
Vaughn organized the meeting between Trump and the families, and said that the Khans were not a topic of discussion.
“There’s just a lot more important things going on,” she said, adding that she isn’t offended by Trump’s reaction to Khan, and neither are most of the people she knows.
Instead, they discussed “substantive” topics, like America’s involvement in current wars and how veterans are treated when they come home.
This Saturday will mark five years since Vaughn’s son died. She said that he loved God, his family, and his country, and from the time he was 8 years old, he knew that he wanted to serve in the military. When he died he had a son who was almost 2 years old and a nine-week-old daughter.
“He was the kind of person that seriously just exemplified America, everything that’s good about this country,” she said. “What I want to do is, I just want to have a voice and keep fighting for the principles and the causes that he gave his life for.”
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