Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the results of the presidential election indicate the Republican nominee knows he’s losing and is trying to deflect blame, Tim Kaine said Thursday during a campaign stop at N.C. Central University.
Kaine, the U.S. senator from Virginia and Democratic vice-presidential nominee, contrasted Trump’s debate performance a day earlier with that of his running mate Hillary Clinton, who “showed she is Madam President,” Kaine said.
“He’s run his whole campaign insulting one group after the next,” Kaine said of Trump — listing women, Muslims, Mexican-Americans and U.S. Sen. John McCain as a few of Trump’s targets. “It’s like when he ran out of groups to insult, he said, ‘Well I know what I will do; I will insult our democratic tradition and say we cannot run a fair election.’”
He declared North Carolina “a checkmate state” — using a chess analogy to remind attendees of the state’s vital role and encourage them to get out to vote.
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Early voting in North Carolina opened Thursday. Kaine said he’d been encouraged earlier in the day by “great crowds” at voting sites in Charlotte and Apex.
Kaine said although Clinton is currently up in the polls, he still views the race as a close one. He said that he’s entered every political race with the same mentality: “I’m the underdog until they call me the winner.”
He said he’s won all eight elections he’s participated in. “You can beat me in Scrabble, you can beat me in sports trivia, but do not run an election against me,” he said to cheers.
“The bad thing is that I barely win elections,” he laughed.
Kaine focused on Clinton’s education policies in his pitch to the crowd — which included a large number of students. He said the Clinton-Kaine ticket will focus on making college affordable so that students can have the skills they need to succeed.
“Donald Trump, when he looked at education, he said ‘wow, what a great way for me to make some money,’” Kaine said, referring to the now-closed Trump University.
The Trump campaign on Thursday issued a statement from state director Jason Simmons, who said: “As Senator Kaine visits North Carolina to push for early voting, North Carolinians want to know from him why Hillary Clinton was unable to answer questions last night in the final debate about her decision to illegally evade Congressional subpoenas, as well as why she insisted on using an unlawful private mail server for official business.
“Tim Kaine needs to answer why Hillary Clinton deserves to be our commander-in-chief after demonstrating such a dismal record of protecting our nation’s secrets — other officials have been prosecuted for security violations far less than hers.”
Former NBA star and Duke basketball standout Grant Hill introduced Kaine, telling a personal anecdote about his mother, Janet Hill, to explain one reason for his support.
Hill said his mother was one of five African American students at Wellesley when Clinton was a student there, and that it was the former secretary of state who convinced his mother to stay in school when she considered dropping out.
He said that because she was “fighting for Janet Hill when that wasn’t the popular thing to do,” he knows Clinton “will fight for each one of you here today.”
Norvia Jennette, who attended the rally, said she supported Clinton’s policies — and the positive way in which she frames them.
“When Trump talks about crime in African American communities and us not having jobs, he comes off as negative, period,” said Jennette, 19. “Especially when he tries to talk about the African- American community, but not only us. He's also negative when he talks about the Latino community, the Muslim community.”
Earlier Thursday, Kaine told supporters at Heist Brewery in Charlotte that voters can’t allow Trump to “insult our democracy” by not accepting the results of the election.
“This is not a television show, this is not a reality show,” Kaine said. “This is about running a country. You gotta do better than that.”
Tim Funk and Steve Harrison of the Charlotte Observer contributed to this report.