Tim Kaine and Mike Pence wasted no time hitting each other, and the top of the other party’s ticket, in Tuesday’s night’s vice presidential debate in Farmville, Va.
Kaine went on the offensive in his opening remarks, characterizing Republican nominee Donald Trump as someone who puts himself and his own interests first.
He was then asked by moderator Elaine Quijano about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s low trustworthy ratings, fueled in part by questions over her use of a private email server and the dealings of the Clinton Foundation. But he turned the question right back on Trump.
“As a candidate, [Trump] started his campaign with a speech where he called Mexicans rapists and criminals and he has pursued the discredited and really outrageous lie that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States,” Kaine said. “I can’t imagine how Gov. Pence can defend the insult-driven, selfish, me-first style of Donald Trump.”
Quijano then asked a similar question to Pence, pressing him on Trump’s temperament and perceived “erratic” behavior. But Pence was determined to hit back at Kaine, and responded directly to his criticism of Trump.
“Senator, you and Hillary Clinton would know a lot about an insult-driven campaign,” he said. “It really is remarkable.”
The Indiana governor went on to criticize Hillary Clinton for her tenure as secretary of state, naming the crises in Syria and Russia as examples of the Obama administration’s “weak” foreign policy, which he said had “weakened America’s place in the world.” Kaine countered by commending Obama and Clinton for killing Osama bin Laden and closing the Iran nuclear deal.
When Pence touted Trump’s business acumen, Kaine, who frequently interrupted Pence, brought up the fact that Trump, who has yet to release his tax returns, claimed a loss of nearly $1 billion in 1995.
“You are Donald Trump’s apprentice,” Kaine concluded of Pence. “Gov. Pence doesn’t think the world is going so well, and he’s going to say it’s everybody’s fault.”