October 24, 2019

VIDEO: On Senate floor, Kaine calls on colleagues to pass legislation to mitigate Trump’s Syria disaster

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tim Kaine delivered a floor speech calling on his colleagues to pass the House resolution condemning Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds, bring to the floor the Menendez-Risch sanctions bill to hold Turkey accountable, and increase humanitarian assistance for the Kurdistan Regional Government and international refugee support agencies. In his remarks, Kaine said, “I want America to be the country that tells the world, ‘You can count on us. You can count on us.’ Not the country about which the world says, ‘Don't believe a word they say.’”

Kaine also demanded that the Trump Administration release the transcript of the phone call between President Trump and President Erdogan and come before Congress to explain its plan to prevent a resurgence of ISIS.

You can watch video of Senator Kaine’s speech here: https://timkaine.box.com/s/gwtym9iy7fy3zgrem9b080us0td6omlu

Below are excerpts of Kaine’s remarks:

“We're protecting oil fields but not our allies from ISIS. We're pulling out of the region, but we're also putting thousands more troops in Saudi Arabia. We're pulling out of the region, but we’ve in fact added 14,000 more troops to the gulf since May. We're pulling back from the safe zone that we spent months trying to implement just to put Russia in charge of that safe zone. We're empowering dictators but we're abandoning allies. We're sending the signal in Saudi Arabia that the reason we're putting troops there is, as the President said, ‘because they'll pay for it,’ sending the message that our military is now mercenaries, that we would go to the country where the country will pay for it, regardless of the human rights situation in that country. The withdrawal has made it very difficult for anybody to think about partnering with us in the future against a threat like ISIS,” Kaine said.

“I’m going to conclude with this. Along with many of our colleagues today, I gathered here in the chamber today at 10:30 to go over to the memorial service for Elijah Cummings, and it was a powerful one. It was a powerful one. Not many members of Congress, Senate or House, lie in state in the Capitol, and it was a moving occasion.”

“The fact that he would go through life and still believe so strongly that our country's values and ideals were a more accurate reflection of who we are than our imperfections and vices is something that I found pretty inspirational as I thought about his life. I do believe we're better than this. With respect to this particular issue – I think we're better than abandoning battlefield allies. I think we're better than empowering authoritarian dictatorships. I think we're better than suggesting we care more about oil than we care about people. I think we're better than facilitating ethnic cleansing of a proud population, including kids. I think we're better than this. So in the spirit of Representative Cummings, I’m going to define us as a nation, us as a Senate, us as individuals more by our ideals than by our imperfect actions and then call us to live up to them,” Kaine concluded.