WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump this week refused to back off his claim that if he had been president, Humayun Khan, a U.S. Army Captain who was killed in the Iraq War in 2004, would still be alive.

“Had I been president, Captain Khan would be alive today. We wouldn’t have been in this horrible, horrible mistake, the war in Iraq,” Trump said in an interview Wednesday with ABC News, in which he again falsely insisted that he was “opposed to the war in Iraq right from the beginning.”

Khizr Khan, the father of the deceased US Army officer, called Trump’s remark about his dead son “cruel” in a separate ABC News interview.

Trump’s comments came nearly three months after the real estate mogul first escalated a feud with the parents of the slain U.S. Army officer after they criticized him at the Democratic National Convention. Trump suggested Khan’s mother had not been “allowed” to speak and said the parents had “no right” to criticize him.

The nominee had previously offered lukewarm support for the war in Iraq just one month before Congress voted to authorize military force in the Middle East, telling radio host Howard Stern, “Yeah, I guess so,” when asked if he supported the war. And he also said the war “looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint” in an interview with Fox News the day after US troops invaded Iraq.

“This is the most cruel thing you can say to grieving parents, that if I was there this would not have happened,” Khizr Khan told ABC News Wednesday in response to Trump’s comments. “There’s no sincerity in those remarks … This is one character that a leader must have to be the leader of a great country, to be the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the United States: empathy. And this person totally lacks that.”