Kaine: ‘You have to condemn the intolerable’

Today on CBS’s Face the Nation, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine spoke about the violent white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville last weekend and President Trump’s lack of moral leadership as he failed to unequivocally condemn them this week.

tim kaine“We need to call out violence wherever it exists, but what the President did this week was suggesting there was some sort of moral equivalence in Charlottesville, and that is outrageous. The President didn’t have a hard time when a Somali, a young man, drove a car into a crowd at Ohio State…He called it an act of terrorism, which it was. When somebody drove a car into a crowd in Barcelona this week, he jumped on it immediately; it was as an act of terrorism. But, when this white supremacist drives a car into a crowd of people killing Heather Heyer and injuring scores more, the President says there’s fine people on ‘both sides’ or there’s violence on ‘both sides’. Why is he so confused, and unclear, and unwilling to call out the violent white supremacy that was on such gruesome display in my home state?” Kaine asked. “You have to condemn the intolerable.”

As communities debate whether to remove confederate monuments, Kaine also spoke about the importance of memorializing civil rights leaders and other figures who tell the broader story of American history.

“Let’s also talk about whose stories haven’t been told and what buildings or monuments we might think about erecting in the future…For all of us, whether we are in Congress or mayors or governors, we have to grapple with the painful meaning that some of these confederate era statues have but we also have to grapple with the history that we’ve refused to tell and the people we’ve refused to honor,” Kaine said.

When asked about the confederate statues in the U.S. Capitol, Kaine continued, “The state gets to choose two people to represent the entire scope of the state’s history. Virginia obviously chose George Washington, the father of the country, but the second choice that was made in 1909 and has never been changed was Robert E. Lee. I think as you look at the scope of Virginia history here in 2017, and if you want there to be two people to really stand for who Virginia is, why wouldn’t you think about Pocahontas, who had she not saved John Smith’s life, we wouldn’t even be here possibly? Why wouldn’t you think about a Barbara Johns, who led a school walkout in Prince Edward County that ultimately became part of the Brown v. Board desegregation decision?  Why wouldn’t you think about Governor Wilder, the grandson of a slave and a decorated Korean War combat veteran who became the first elected African American governor in the history of the country? I think from 2017 looking backward, I think Virginia could probably do better…”

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