Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine accepted the nomination for vice president at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday evening. Here are his remarks as prepared:
I want to thank my beautiful wife Anne and my three wonderful children, Nat, Woody, and Annella. Nat deployed with his Marine battalion two days ago to protect and defend the very NATO allies that Donald Trump now says he would abandon. Semper Fi, Nat!My parents and in-laws are here, our siblings and their spouses, our nieces and nephews, hundreds of friends from Virginia and beyond, including my great friend, Representative Bobby Scott.We love you all.
Today, for my wife Anne and every strong woman in this country; for Nat, Woody, and Annella, and every young person starting out in life to make their own dreams real; for every man and woman serving in our military, at home and abroad; for every family working hard to get ahead and stay ahead; for my parents and in-laws and every senior citizen who hopes for a dignified retirement with health care and research to end diseases like Alzheimer’s; for every person who wants America to be a beloved community, where people aren’t demeaned because of who they are, but rather respected for their contributions to this nation; for all of us who know the brightest future for our country is the one we build together; and for my friend Hillary Clinton, I humbly accept my party’s nomination to be Vice President of the United States.
I never expected to be here. But let me tell you how it happened.
I was born in Minnesota and grew up in Kansas City. My folks weren’t much into politics. My dad ran a union ironworking shop. My mom was his best salesman. My brothers and I pitched in to help during summers and on weekends. That’s how small family businesses work. My parents, Al and Kathy, taught me about hard work, and about kindness, and, most importantly, faith.
I went to a Jesuit boys school – Rockhurst High School. The motto of our school was “men for others.” That’s where my faith became vital, a North Star for orienting my life. And I knew that I wanted to fight for social justice.
That’s why I took a year off law school to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. I taught kids welding and carpentry. Aprendí los valores del pueblo – fe, familia, y trabajo. Faith, family, and work. Los mismos valores de la comunidad Latina aquíen nuestro pais. Somos Americanos todos.
And here’s what really struck me. I got a first-hand look at a system – a dictatorship – where a few people at the top had all the power and everyone else got left out. It convinced me that we’ve got to advance opportunity for everyone. No matter where they come from, how much money they have, what they look like, how they worship, or who they love.
Back in 1970, in Virginia, the Republican Governor Linwood Holton believed exactly the same thing. He integrated Virginia’s public schools, so black and white kids would finally learn together, and the family enrolled their own kids, including his daughter, Anne, in those integrated inner-city schools.
When Anne went off to college, she brought with her the lessons borne of that experience. And one day, in a study group, she met this goofy guy who had been off teaching kids in Honduras. Anne and I have now been married for almost 32 years, and I am the luckiest husband in the world.
Anne’s parents, Lin and Jinks, are here today, 90-plus and going strong. Lin’s still a Republican. But he’s voting for a lot of Democrats these days. Because any party that would nominate Donald Trump for president has moved too far away from his party of Lincoln. And if any of you are looking for that party of Lincoln, we’ve got a home for you right here in the Democratic Party.
Lin’s example helped inspire me to work as a civil rights lawyer.Over 17 years, I took on banks and landlords, real estate firms and local governments, anyone who treated people unfairly – like the insurance company that was discriminating against minority neighborhoods all across America in issuing homeowners’ insurance.
These are the battles I’ve been fighting my whole life. And that’s the story of how I decided to run for office. My city of Richmond was divided and discouraged. An epidemic of gun violence overwhelmed our low income neighborhoods. People were pointing fingers and casting blame instead of finding answers. I couldn’t stand it. So I ran for city council.
I won that first race, more than 20 years ago, by 94 votes. And I’ve said ever since – if I’m good at anything, it’s because I started at the local level, listening to people, learning about their lives and trying to get results. Later, I became Mayor of Richmond, Lieutenant Governor, and then the 70th Governor of Virginia. I was a hard times Governor – steering my state through the deepest recession since the 1930’s. But tough times don’t last – tough people do. And Virginians are tough. Smart, too.
We achieved national recognition for our work – best managed state, best state for business, best state for a child to be raised, low unemployment, high family income. We shed tears in the days after a horrible mass shooting at Virginia Tech, but we rolled up our sleeves, and fixed a loophole in our background check system to make us safer. And we invested in our people – expanding pre-Kand higher education, because education was the key to all we wanted to be.
Now I have the honor of serving in the Senate. I work on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees to keep us safe at home and strong in the world. I work on the Budget Committee with Bernie Sanders, a great leader, fighting for investments in education, health care, research, and transportation. And I serve on the Aging Committee, making sure that seniors have a secure retirement and don’t get targeted by rip-off artists who will scam them out of their savings or overcharge them for prescription drugs. And here’s a funny thing: I spend time with a lot of Republican Senators who, once they’ve made sure nobody’s listening, will tell you how fantastic a Senator Hillary Clinton was.
My journey has convinced me that God has created a rich tapestry in this country – an incredible cultural diversity that succeeds when we embrace everyone in love and battle back against the dark forces of division. We’re all neighbors and we must love our neighbors as ourselves.
Hillary Clinton and I are compañeros del alma. We share this belief: Do all the good you can. Serve one another. That’s what I’m about. That’s what you’re about. That’s what Bernie Sanders is about. That’s what Joe Biden is about. That’s what Barack and Michelle Obama are about. And that’s what Hillary Clinton is about.
Now, last week in Cleveland, we heard a lot about trust. So let’s talk about trust. I want to tell you why I trust Hillary Clinton.
First, she’s consistent. She has battled to put kids and families first since she was a teenager – in good times and bad, in victory and defeat, in and out of office, through hell or high water. Fighting for underprivileged kids at the Children’s Defense Fund. Fighting to get health insurance for 8 million kids when she was First Lady. Fighting for the well-being of women and girls around the world.
Here’s a little tip for you: When you want to know about the character of someone in public life, look to see if they have a passion, one that began before they were in office, and that they have consistently held on to throughout their career. Hillary’s passion is kids and families. Donald Trump has a passion too: It’s himself.
And it’s not just words with Hillary, it’s accomplishments. She delivers. As Senator, after 9/11, she battled Congressional Republicans to care for the first responders who saved victims of that terrorist attack. As Secretary of State, she implemented tough sanctions against Iran to pave the way for a diplomatic breakthrough that curtailed a dangerous nuclear weapons program. She stood up against thugs and dictators and was a key part of the Obama national security team that decided to go to the ends of the earth to wipe out Osama bin Laden.
Hey, remember Karla, the little girl we heard from on Monday who feared her parents would be deported? She trusts Hillary to keep them together. And remember the Mothers of the Movement we heard from last night? They trust Hillary to keep other mothers’sons and daughters safe.
And as he’s serving our nation abroad, I trust Hillary Clinton with our son’s life.
You know who I don’t trust? Donald Trump. The guy promises a lot. But you might have noticed, he has a habit of saying the same two words right after he makes his biggest promises. You guys know the words I mean? “Believe me.”
It’s gonna be great – believe me! We’re gonna build a wall and make Mexico pay for it – believe me! We’re gonna destroy ISIS so fast – believe me! There’s nothing suspicious in my tax returns –believe me! By the way, does anyone here believe that Donald Trump’s been paying his fair share of taxes? Do you believe he ought to release those tax returns like every other presidential candidate in modern history? Of course he should. Donald, what are you hiding?
And yet he still says, “Believe me.” "Believe me?" Here’s the thing. Most people, when they run for President, they don’t just say “believe me.” They respect you enough to tell you how they will get things done.
For example, you can go to HillaryClinton.com right now and find out exactly how she’ll make the biggest investment in new jobs in generations, and how she’ll defend and build on Wall Street reform. You can see how she’ll reform our immigration system and create a path to citizenship, and how she’ll make it possible to graduate from college debt-free. You can see how she’ll guarantee equal pay for women and make paid family leave a reality. With just one click we can see how she’ll do it, how she’ll pay for it and how we’ll benefit.
Not Donald Trump. He never tells you how he’s going to do any of the things he says he’s going to do. He just says, “believe me.” So here’s the question. Do you really believe him? Donald Trump’s whole career says you better not.
Small contractors – companies just like my dad’s – believed him when he said that he’d pay them to build a casino in Atlantic City.They did the work, hung the drywall, poured the concrete. But a year after opening, Trump filed for bankruptcy. He walked away with millions. They got pennies on the dollar. Some of them went out of business. All because they believed Donald Trump.
Retirees and families in Florida believed Donald Trump when he said he’d build them condos. They paid their deposits, but the condos were never built. He just pocketed their money, and walked away. They lost tens of thousands of dollars, all because they believed Donald Trump. Charity after charity believed Donald Trump when he said he would contribute to them. And thousands of Trump University students believed Donald Trump when he said he would help them succeed. They got stiffed.
He says “believe me.” Well, his creditors, his contractors, his laid-off employees, his ripped-off students did just that. Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.Our nation is too great to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting, one man wrecking crew.
Don’t take it from me. Take it from former First Lady Barbara Bush. She said she didn’t know how any woman could vote for him after his offensive comments. Or John McCain’s former economic advisor – who estimates Trump’s promises would cost America 3.5 million jobs. Or the independent analysts that found Trump’s tax plan, a gift to the wealthy and big corporations, would rack up $30 trillion in debt.
Or John Kasich, the Republican Governor who had the honor of hosting the Republican Convention in Cleveland but wouldn’t even attend it because he thinks Trump is such a moral disaster. Or take it from the guy who co-wrote Trump’s autobiography. For Trump, he said, “lying is second nature to him.” So, do you believe him?Does anybody here believe him?
The next President will face many challenges. We better elect the candidate who’s proven she can be trusted with the job. The candidate who’s proven she’s ready for the job. And, by the way, I use the word “ready” for a specific reason. When I lived in Honduras, I learned that the best compliment you could give someone was to say they were “listo”– ready.
Not “inteligente”– smart. Not “amable”– friendly. Not “rico” – rich. But “listo.” Because what “listo” means in Spanish is prepared, battle-tested, rock-solid, up for anything, never backing down. And Hillary Clinton is “lista.”
She’s ready because of her faith. She’s ready because of her heart.She’s ready because of her experience. She’s ready because she knows in America we are stronger together. My fellow Democrats, this week we begin the next chapter in our proud story.
Thomas declared all men equal, and Abigail remembered the women. Woodrow brokered peace, and Eleanor broke down barriers. Jack told us what to ask, and Lyndon answered the call.Martin had a dream, Cesar y Dolores said si se puede, and Harvey gave his life. Bill bridged a century, and Barack gave us hope.
And now Hillary is ready. Ready to fight, ready to win, ready to lead. Thank you, Philadelphia. God bless you all.