Donald Trump wasted no time reacting to Hillary Clinton’s choice in Democratic running mate Senator Tim Kaine, taking to Twitter shortly after the announcement was made Friday night. In a series of tweets, Trump began his attacks on Kaine and appeared ready to stoke anger within the Democratic party over the vice presidential pick:
In addition to Trump’s tweets, Jason Miller, the Republican candidate’s campaign aide, sent out an email statement to supporters addressing the pick:
It’s only fitting that Hillary Clinton would select an ethically challenged insider like Tim Kaine who’s personally benefited from the rigged system. While serving in government, Kaine has taken tens of thousands of dollars in freebies – more than $160,000 in fact – on free vacations, free clothes, and free tickets. If you think Crooked Hillary and Corrupt Kaine are going to change anything in Washington, it’s just the opposite. They do well by the current system, while the rest of America gets left behind. The choice has never been clearer – Donald Trump calls on us to Believe in America, while the Status Quo ticket of Clinton-Kaine wants us to believe in a rigged system that enriches them at your expense.
Trump’s attack on Kaine as “corrupt” and an “ethically challenged insider” dates from when Kaine was lieutenant governor of Virginia between 2002 and 2005 and then governor of Virginia between 2006 and 2010. According to the Washington Post, during this eight year span Kaine received gifts totaling $201,000 in value, including basketball tickets and free clothes. Kaine received these gifts legally according to state regulations, and also disclosed them fully. Trump’s reference to “Bob M” is Republican Bob McDonnell, who succeeded Kaine as governor and was convicted on federal corruption charges after he similarly received gifts. The difference, which Trump failed to note, was that unlike Kaine, McDonnell did not disclose the gifts that he received. McDonnell’s conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court.
According to Politico, with regard to the gifts a spokesperson for Senator Kaine stated:
During his eight years as lieutenant governor and governor, Sen. Kaine went beyond the requirements of Virginia law, even publicly disclosing gifts of value beneath the reporting threshold. He’s confident that he met both the letter and the spirit of Virginia’s ethical standards.