Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine on Sunday made some of his most personal attacks on Donald Trump — accusing the Republican presidential nominee of perpetuating a “bigoted lie” about President Obama’s citizenship and inciting violence at campaign rallies.
“When you look at a series of these comments that he’s making, I do believe it is an incite, or at a minimum, an expression of indifference to whether violence would occur,” the Virginia senator told “Fox News Sunday.” “This is a pattern that has been repeated over and over again.”
Kaine pointed specifically to Trump talking several weeks ago at a rally about how to possibly stop Clinton from picking her favored Supreme Court justices, if she gets elected.
“Nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said. “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Trump critics said he was suggesting gun-rights advocates take up arms.
Trump said he was suggesting such advocates vote as a bloc.
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“There can be no other interpretation,” he later told Fox News. “Give me a break.”
A day before Kaine made the comments on Fox News, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd told CNN that she personally told Trump that “it was wrong that there was violence being incited at his rallies.”
She said Trump responded by saying he thought the violence “added a frisson of excitement.”
Trump responded by tweeting: “Wacky @NYTimesDowd, who hardly knows me, makes up things that I never said for her boring interviews and column. A neurotic dope!”
On the issue of Trump stoking the so-called “birther” argument, Kaine declined Sunday to characterize him as a racist.
“I don’t know Donald Trump,” he said. “So if I don’t know somebody, I’m just not going to make that claim.”
Allegations surfaced during Obama’s hard-fought Democratic presidential primary race with Clinton in 2008 that he was born in Kenya, therefore not a U.S. citizen.
Obama in 2011 made public a birth certificate document that showed he was born in Hawaii, which essentially ended the birther argument.
However, it resurfaced again last week when Trump balked for several days at saying Obama was indeed a citizen.
On Sunday, Kaine suggested the argument, at least, had racial overtones.
“Donald Trump has perpetrated a bigoted lie,” he said.
“When African-Americans came here in 1619 … they could not be citizens. … So for five years — when Donald Trump has pushed this bigoted lie that the African American president of the United States is not a U.S. citizen — so many people connect that to the most painful time in American history.”