In a rare policy address by a vice presidential nominee, Democrat Tim Kaine showcased his own foreign policy expertise Tuesday and painted Donald Trump as clueless and dangerous when it comes to world affairs.
"The prospect of the emotionally volatile, fact-challenged, self-obsessed and inexperienced Donald Trump as commander-in-chief scares me to death," Kaine said at a historic USO building in the swing state of North Carolina.
Hillary Clinton's vice presidential running mate has a background in national security and foreign policy, something some voters might not know. He represents Virginia in the Senate and serves on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees. Kaine also is the father of a U.S. Marine. His speech came as Clinton and Trump both argued their own national security credentials as they campaigned in the battleground states of Florida and Virginia, respectively.
In his roughly 45-minute remarks, Kaine said Trump has a "bizarre fascination" with dictators, is disrespectful of the American military and unable to grasp basic facts about American relationships with Russia, Latin and South America and the Middle East. In contrast, he talked up Clinton's familiarity with world leaders gleaned from her time as a U.S. senator and secretary of state. Kaine, too, has traveled to Middle Eastern and Latin American nations. Together, Kaine said, the pair would make a president and vice president who are informed and well-versed in foreign policy.
Kaine said Trump is misleading voters on his foreign policy views while Clinton is offering concrete proposals to defeat the Islamic State group and prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. He pointed to Trump's repeated assertion that he was against invading Iraq, despite statements to several news outlets at the time indicating otherwise, as evidence of Trump's untruthfulness.
Trump's stated opposition to the Iraq war from the beginning is "one of the main rationales for his candidacy, and it's completely made up," Kaine said.
Kaine also referenced his son's service in the U.S. Marine Corps to make a personal appeal for a Clinton presidency.
"I trust Hillary Clinton to make (foreign policy) decisions with full knowledge that the life of my son and his friends may be riding on the outcome," Kaine said.