Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine was swamped by national media today by virtue of being on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s short list under consideration for her vice-president choice expected to be announced tomorrow. He appeared at a church in Arlington to participate in a round table with local advocacy groups on immigration reform. But while Kaine gave his stock answer when asked about the vice presidential nod (“I am a happy senator not looking for another job”), he became very animated when asked to comment on the GOP’s presidential nominee Donald Trump’s foreign policy comments in the New York Times today. Trump suggested the U.S. might not honor its NATO and other military alliances.
“Whenever you say to an ally in this post-911 world regarding a treaty obligation and you’re not sure we will meet that obligation, you have done a very dangerous thing,” Kaine said. “We have troops in those counties that are at risk.” He added, “So, is this his new rule, that our word is not our bond, and our treaties are not worth the paper they’re written on? I was stunned.”
Kaine noted that the impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling allowing enormous sums of secret money to influence the elections is part of an effort to “intentionally make outcomes bad” in elections by “discouraging interest in public service” by the population in general. “It’s all about suppression of the vote,” he said, “and everyday people are going to have to push back.”
He said the immigration reform issue, far from being stymied by the electoral process, will be advanced by it “because it will be joined as one of two or three key issues where the differences between the candidates will be really clear. If the voters vote on issues that have been made clear, then the election’s outcome will represent a public mandate on that issue that even the losing side will have to acknowledge.”
Kaine was asked, “Since the national public doesn’t know you well, what would you say you are best at?” He paused for a moment, and then said he’d draw on his Jesuit upbringing to say, “The goal in life is to say, ‘Let me be better tomorrow than I am today.’ That’s my answer.”