Tim Kaine, the Democratic nominee for vice president, is in Texas this week – and he responded to the latest controversial comments from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
The back-and-forth started with Trump speaking earlier Tuesday in North Carolina.
"Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish — the Second Amendment," Trump said. (Clinton, however, has said she will not do that.) "If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know."
Some interpreted that as encouraging voters opposed to Clinton to take up arms.
Kaine, who makes fundraising stops in North Texas on Wednesday, spoke from Austin with Texas Standard, the public radio newsmagazine.
“There is absolutely no place, there should be no place in our politics for somebody who wants to be a leader to say something even in an offhand way that is connected to inciting violence,” he said in an interview that will air Wednesday on Texas Standard. “And that’s exactly what he says.”
Kaine said Trump’s comments speak “to a fundamental defect in his temperament.”
“The part of this that just put an icicle in my veins when I heard it was that this is a guy who is wanting to be a president, who is protected by a service detail that are trying to do things to keep him safe,” Kaine said. “And a statement like that -- it just … no leader should be inciting violence in any way shape or form.”
Trump’s campaign responded to the criticism of his comments Tuesday with a statement by spokesman Jason Miller:
“It’s called the power of unification – 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”
You can hear the full interview with Kaine at 10 a.m. Wednesday during Texas Standard on KERA radio. The show airs on more than two dozen public radio stations across the state.
Interview Highlights: Tim Kaine on …
… Trump’s comments: “When I saw the report of that quote, I went to watch the video of it because I frankly could not believe what Trump had said the words that were in the print version. I went to watch the video and that’s exactly what he said. There is absolutely no place, there should be no place in our politics for somebody who wants to be a leader to say something even in an offhand way that is connected to inciting violence. And that’s exactly what he says. In addition, the whole thing is false. Hillary Clinton is a Second Amendment supporter, just like I am. We believe the Second Amendment is consistent with appropriate safety rules. … The part of this that just put an icicle in my veins when I heard it was that this is a guy who is wanting to be a president who is protected by a service detail that are trying to do things to keep him safe. And a statement like that -- it just … no leader should be inciting violence in any way shape or form. It really speaks to a fundamental defect in his temperament in so far as he would want to be president.”
… The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade proposal: “Trade is a reality and I want to do trade if the rules are fair. If the rules are fair, we should be moving ahead and finding export customers for our businesses. But the rules do have to be fair. A year ago, I voted to give the president the tools to negotiate the best deals possible…. I did lay down a concern with the White House a year ago, which is you’ve got to do a deal that truly is enforceable. The deal that’s on the table now, the TPP, which has to be voted up or down, it’s not enforceable in so far as the environmental and the labor standards. If a company doesn’t like an action the trade partner takes, then the company can file a lawsuit in a private court in a private court against the nation seeking billions of dollars. But if a labor union says a nation has violated the labor standards of the deal or an environmental group says ‘wait a minute’ or environmental standards of the deal,’ they're not even allowed to go into the tribunal to challenge it. So a deal is only as good as it can be enforced and there is a huge and fatal flaw in this deal in terms of the environment and for that reason I cannot vote for it.”
… What immigration reform would look like under Clinton: “It would be a comprehensive reform, which would include things for employers to be able to verify immigration bonafides of the employees, border security, a path to citizenship for those who have been here if they are paying taxes and want to become citizens of this country. An appropriate status to recognize the Dreamers here.”
… Pushing past rhetoric to get stuff done: “It is true that there are those who use that rhetoric and are not going to be persuaded. Here’s my assumption: I think Hillary’s going to win this November. I think the Democrats are going to take the Senate this November. I think the Republican margin in the House is going to narrow this November. Because the issue of immigration the election results will be a mandate. And that will be very, very clear to everybody in Congress. I’ve already talked to many Republican senators who say we’ve got to hit the immigration reform issue right away. It is a more difficult dynamic in the House, but I think the combination of a more narrowed margin in the House plus that message sent by voters, that we want this reform, I think that will enable us -- after 30 years, 1986 was the last reform -- it will enable us to finally get it over the hump.
… Being described as boring: “Look, I’m a civil rights lawyer in Virginia. And battled hard for important social justice values for 17 years before I got into state politics. And then I played a major role in helping turn a state that was reliably red into a very competitive and progressive state for Democrats. So I know how to get the job done, and maybe I don’t do it with a lot of style points. I know how to get the job done, and I think that’s one of the reason Hillary Clinton chose me.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.