Kaine On Face The Nation:Since Charlottesville, Many Americans Have Stood Up Against Hate While Trump Has Stoked It
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today on CBS’s Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine highlighted how Americans have stood up to reject hate in the year since the violent white supremacist and neo-Nazi marches in Charlottesville. Kaine spoke about the need for all leaders to redouble their commitment to equality, criticizing President Trump’s repeated actions that have stoked hatred and exacerbated divisions in America.
Below is an excerpt of the interview:
Kaine: Charlottesville was a shock. And what I think it has created is an energy of people of goodwill standing up and saying, “There will not be hate. Hate will not define who we are. We're on a path to progress and we're going to stay there.”
Brennan: Nationwide now, there’s a lot of conversation generally about race. Both from President Trump himself, he makes the argument that the unemployment rate, the jobless rate for the African American community is at a record low. He frequently uses cites that statistic to make the point that he is improving lives for the African American community and for minorities. Do you think he has created real opportunity?
Kaine: No, no. I think he’s been a failure. The unemployment rate is low generally, that’s good. It was coming down when he took office, that’s good. So I give him that. He doesn’t get all the credit for it because it was coming down significantly when he took office. But how about gaps in income? They are significant. How about gaps in wealth? They are significant. And, what I think I’m most concerned about with this President is his pension to divide us. To attack people because they’re immigrants. To attack people because of their religion. To attack minorities. To use vulgar language to describe countries where people come from who might be Latino or African. There is a concerted effort that he has been engaged in to divide people, including dividing people based on race. And nowhere was that more obvious nowhere than in the aftermath of Charlottesville. When somebody drove a car into a crowd in Columbus, Ohio, between his election and when he was inaugurated, and that somebody happened to be somebody from the Middle East, he called it terrorism and went to Columbus to comfort families who had been injured. When somebody of a Middle Eastern background drove a car into a crowd in Barcelona, he called it terrorism. But when this happened in Charlottesville, 90 miles from the White House, in the home of an archetypal American president, suddenly he says, “Well you know there’s good people on both sides.” He could not distinguish who was on the right side and who was on the wrong side in a white supremacist, neo-Nazi rally. And that was infuriating. Virginians really saw that for what it was. Because a state that's been scarred like we have, with the divisions of racism and hatred and slavery in the past—when we have a president who can't call it out, it was outrageous. The people who came to Charlottesville to demonstrate their hatred, they I'm sure had those emotions before there was a President Trump. But he's stoking it. And I think that's very, very damning that he does that.
Kaine: the burden that's on the shoulder of any of us in leadership now is to try to pull this country together, not divide people…what I challenge the President on is, I don't think he's behaving like a "for all" guy. He is behaving in a way that divides people from one another, and we've got to have leaders at all levels who stand up and make plain that we are a "for all" nation or "for all" Commonwealth.