Trump calls Tim Kaine 'weird little dude'
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is a "political hack" who has "not done a very good job," the Republican presidential nominee said during a campaign appearance in Kaine's home state.
The sharp comments came after Trump's own vice presidential choice, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, introduced him at an event in Roanoke, Virginia.
The nation is "ready to put a fighter, a builder, and a patriot” in the White House, Pence told a crowd of supporters. "Donald Trump understands frustrations and aspirations of American people. He knows people are tired of being told this is as good as it gets."
Trump said he loves Virginia and promised the crowd "we are going to win Virginia" before launching into a laundry list of attacks on Secretary Clinton, Kaine, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who resigned as Democratic National Committee chairman on Sunday after internal DNC emails published by Wikileaks showed the party's effort to derail the insurgent presidential candidacy of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The DNC offered a "deep and sincere apology to Sen. Sanders," on Monday for the "inexcusable remarks" in the emails relating to Sanders.
Trump called Wasserman-Schultz "highly overrated," but put the blame for her "vicious firing" at the feet of a "disloyal" Clinton.
"I don’t want Hillary covering my back," said Trump, whose speech touched on a number of familiar topics, including what he has consistently called "bad trade deals" and a call for increased border security.
But Trump lavished special attention on the "defective instincts" Clinton showed with her choice of Kaine, a former Virginia governor, first-term U.S. senator, and longtime friend of the Clintons.
"Hillary Clinton has bad judgement," and is "low energy," Trump said. "She shouldn't have picked this guy." The vice presidential pick would further alienate Sanders followers, said Trump, who had welcomed their support in his acceptance speech at last week's Republican convention in Cleveland.
"You don't have to go with Pocahontas, you don't have to go that far," Trump said, referring to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom some believed Clinton might pick as a running mate. "[Clinton] could have had party unity," Trump said. "She didn’t pick somebody representative of what’s going on.”
In a posting on Clinton's website on Saturday, President Barack Obama, a longtime friend of Kaine, wrote that the Virginia senator is "an optimist," who is also a "progressive fighter."
"You just can’t find anyone with a bad thing to say about him," Obama wrote, "from the staff who’ve worked for him to the Republicans who’ve served alongside him."
Trump made a special pitch to evangelicals at the event, saying "you didn’t vote for Romney, but you’d better get out and vote for me," and promising that, if elected, he would work to repeal the 1954 "Johnson Amendment" that prevents churches from specifically endorsing or opposing political candidates. Those that do risk losing their tax exempt status.
Trump said the "beautiful voices" of religious leaders were being unfairly silenced because of the law, championed by then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson of Texas.
Opposition to the amendment was included in the Republican Party platform, and Trump mentioned the idea in his acceptance speech last week.
Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans for the Separation of Church and State, said in a press release that repealing the Johnson Amendment would "turn America’s houses of worship into miniature political action committees."
“I can’t imagine a more disruptive idea for our nation’s religious community or a real impediment to campaign finance reform,” Lynn said.
Trump and Pence closed the event by saying the most important issue in the election was who gets to pick the next Supreme Court justices.
“This is Venezuela” if the wrong sort of people get appointed to the Court, Trump warned.