Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president Wednesday night, and quickly showed his willingness to go on the attack against Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Kaine praised Hillary Clinton for her accomplishments, and their shared belief in “do[ing] all the good you can.”
But he quickly turned to Trump, challenging his trustworthiness.
“I trust Hillary Clinton with our son’s life,” Kaine said, referring to his son, Patrick “Nat” Kaine, a Marine officer who was deployed to Europe earlier this week.
“You know who I don’t trust? Donald Trump,” Kaine said.
Trump, he added, "has a habit of saying the same two words right after he makes his biggest promises. You guys know the words I mean? 'Believe me.’"
Kaine mocked Trump’s voice and mannerisms as he launched into an attack on the GOP nominee’s proposals to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to control immigration, and to tackle the Islamic State group.
Kaine got personal with Trump, saying “does anyone here believe that Donald Trump’s been paying his fair share of taxes,” and demanding Trump release his returns “like every other presidential candidate in modern history.”
“Donald, what are you hiding?” Kaine said.
In an appearance on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Trump would not be releasing his returns because they are still being audited by the IRS.
Danielle Fagre Arlowe, a Minnesota financial services executive attending the Democratic convention, told AMI Newswire Kaine’s hit on Trump’s credibility “really hit home for me.”
“[Kaine] did what he needed to do,” Arlowe said. “It showed us why he was the perfect choice for Hillary as VP: moderate, not too old, not too scary for a swing voter, fluent in Spanish to attract Hispanic voters, from an important swing state, gleefully castigating Trump.”
April Cain, a longtime Virginia Democratic activist, told AMI Newswire that Kaine’s speech was a “limited introduction” to the person she has come to know through her years of involvement in state politics.
“There’s so much more about him that will be revealed as the campaign goes along,” she said.
Cain characterized the former Virginia governor as “one of the nicest politicians I’ve ever met,” adding, “he’s a real person, very well grounded, and that’s rare in politics today.”
Republicans were not so generous in their assessments.
The America Rising super PAC called out Kaine for “flip-flopping” on a number of issues in recent days.
An email from PAC spokesman Amelia Chasse, charged that Kaine will now say “whatever he thinks the socialist wing of the Democratic Party wants to hear,” in order to help the Democratic ticket.
In a statement, Republican Party of Virginia chairman John Whitbeck alluded to the 2008 election, when then-Democratic nominee Barack Obama seriously considered picking Kaine as his running mate, before finally settling on then-Sen. Joe Biden.
"The emotional trauma,” Whitbeck said, "was apparently so great that he's been willing to repudiate everything he claimed to stand for just a few short years
or even days
"Tim Kaine will say anything to win,” Whitbeck added.
The Trump campaign issued a series of emails in quick succession hitting the vice presidential nominee for "advocating for higher taxes” as Virginia’s governor, and quoted from a 2008 analysis by the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato, in which Sabato said of Kaine’s governorship that “few nonpartisan observers in Virginia regard Kaine’s tenure in the Governor’s Office as particularly successful.”
Stephen Miller, a Trump senior policy advisor, characterized the third night of the Democratic convention as “beneath the dignity of a convention.”
“They want to keep the system rigged for their donors. Period,” said Miller.
Kaine returns to Richmond on Monday for a rally with supporters.