Tim Kaine Does Surprisingly Solid Trump Impression in Speech Accepting VP Nod
Tim Kaine accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia tonight, telling both supporters of Bernie Sanders and Republicans that they should vote for Hillary Clinton in the fall.
“We should all feel the Bern,” Kaine said, “and we should all not want to get burned by the other guy!”
The speech followed one by Michael Bloomberg. Like his, it seemed tailored to reach swing voters in suburban districts who might normally vote Republican but are turned off by Donald Trump. Kaine, the former governor of Virginia who is now a senator, was widely seen as a moderate added to the ticket to appeal to such voters.
Kaine talked about his father-in-law, Abner Linwood Holton Jr., a Republican former Virginia governor. “He’s voting for Democrats because any party that would nominate Donald Trump for president has moved too far from his party of Lincoln,” Kaine said. “If any one of you are looking for that party of Lincoln, we’ve got a home for you right here in the Democratic party.”
He even cited several Republicans in his attacks on Trump. He mentioned Barbara Bush, who said she couldn’t see any woman voting for Trump. He noted that John McCain‘s former economic advisor said Trump’s policies would cost the U.S. millions of jobs. He even cited one of Trump’s vanquished rivals: “John Kasich, the Republican governor who had the honor of hosting the Republican convention in Cleveland but wouldn’t even attend it because he thinks Donald Trump is such a moral disaster.”
Kaine’s son Nat deployed with the Marines two days ago. “On a personal level,” he said. “I trust Hillary Clinton with our son’s life.” He then broke into a surprisingly solid impression of Trump himself.
“You know who I don’t trust?” he said. “Hmm, I wonder. Donald Trump! Trump is a guy who promises a lot but he’s got a way of saying the same two words every time he makes his biggest, yugest promises: ‘Believe me.’
He continued his impression: “It’s gonna be great – believe me! We’re gonna build a wall and make Mexico pay for it – believe me! We’re gonna destroy ISIS so fast – believe me! There’s nothing suspicious in my tax returns — believe me!” Then he directly attacked Trump on taxes: “By the way, does anyone here believe that Donald Trump’s been paying his fair share of taxes? Do you believe he ought to release those tax returns like every other presidential candidate in modern history? Of course he should. Donald, what are you hiding?” Earlier in the day, a Trump aide said he would not be releasing his taxes.
Later, he made the case against Trump directly: “You cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth. Not one word.” Earlier in the day, Trump had confused Kaine with former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean.
Kaine also spoke several sentences in Spanish during the speech, while reflecting on his time volunteering with Jesuit missionairies in Honduras while on a break from law school. “I taught kids how to be welders and carpenters,” he said. Then he broke into a brief interlude in Spanish, which he speaks. He summed it up in English afterward: Faith, family and work. Later, he helped start a chant: “Sí se puede.”
He ended his speech by extolling the record of Hillary Clinton.
“The next president will face many challenges,” Kaine said. “We’d better elect the candidate who has proven she can be trusted with the job, the candidate who has proved she is ready for the job. And I use ready for a very specific reason. When I lived in Honduras, I learned that the best compliment you could give someone was to say they were listo — ready.
“Not inteligente — smart. Not amable — friendly. Not rico — rich. But listo. Because what listo means in Spanish is prepared, battle-tested, rock-solid, up for anything, never backing down. And Hillary Clinton is lista.”
Early in Kaine’s speech, chants of “Hey hey, go home, TPP has got to go” rang out in one section of the arena, but were drowned out by other Democrats. Kaine hadn’t taken a position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement before, but came out against it last week.
Before his speech, convention attendees saw a three-minute video extolling Tim Kaine’s record — including a powerful speech he made when Virginia governor after the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.
Kaine was introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott from Virginia. Scott was supposed to nominate him earlier in the day, but the speech was canceled due to fears of Bernie Sanders’ supporters disrupting the proceedings.
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