WASHINGTON, DC—Speaking at the Human Rights Campaign 20th annual black-tie dinner Saturday night at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine warned the LGBT community to beware of Donald Trump’s sudden interest in their well-being, saying “Donald Trump is no friend to this community and he’s no friend to the value of equality.”
Kaine called upon every member of the LGBT community to mobilize against Trump and seize upon this opportunity to remember his more controversial statements uttered before his campaign struggles to polish his rhetoric.
“It’s going to be a close election, and the LGBTQ vote in so many of our battleground states could be the difference between victory and defeat,” Kaine said.
“Donald Trump is unqualified and temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief and we can’t afford to let his proposals be anywhere near the Oval Office,” Kaine stressed to cheers from the audience.
“Go to Donald Trump’s position page,” the Virginia senator said. “Search for an LGBTQ agenda or maybe I can save you the time. There isn’t one. No mention. It’s invisible.”
Kaine used Trump’s recent praise of Russian president Vladimir as evidence Trump would be a danger to the gay community.
“Our opponent praises Vladimir Putin, a guy who persecutes LGBTQ Russians for great leadership,” Kaine said.
“Great leadership. Running your economy into the ground, persecuting journalists, persecuting LGBTQ Russians, invading other nations, violating international law. Leadership? If you do not understand the difference between leadership and dictatorship, you wouldn’t pass a fifth grade civics exam, you’re no leader, and you shouldn’t be president of the United States.”
Kaine also took on Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence.
“Mike Pence is a guy who believes marriage equality will cause a societal collapse,” Kaine said. “He insulted brave LGBT soldiers protecting our freedom overseas and of course he ran a one-man crusade to allow Indiana businesses acting in the public commercial sphere to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans. Yet Donald Trump saw this and decided this is the person that I want helping me govern this country.”
He said he and Clinton would fight to get the federal Equality Act signed if elected.
“When America leads on LGBTQ equality, that matters worldwide,” he said.
On a more personal note, Kaine addressed how his own views on marriage equality have evolved.
He said that while he fought against discrimination in all forms as he began his life in politics, he viewed marriage as something separate, in line with his Catholic beliefs.
He told the crowd his children helped him see the importance of marriage equality and that an effort in Virginia during his years as governor to define marriage as between a man and a woman in the state constitution spurred him to action.
Kaine even went so far as to predict the Catholic church would likewise change its stance toward gay marriage.