Virginia’s U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, in comments to the News-Press while at an appearance in Falls Church Monday, said that his colleague on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner, has repeated his view that President Trump “has about a 50-50 chance of making through the end of his term.”
Kaine said that he and Warner speak frequently, and while Warner “is usually chatty,” when it comes to what he knows as a member of the Intelligence Committee, “he’s generally very closed mouthed.” However, Kaine added what he’s heard Warner say publicly more than once. Kaine, himself, says he thinks it unlikely Trump will leave office early.
In his remarks to the group, Kaine cited “what a small and petty personality the president has,” evidenced by Trump’s refusal to mention even once the name of his critic, Sen. John McCain, after whom this year’s defense authorization bill was named.
Asked by the News-Press about his own assessment of how the current crisis in the White House is going to play out, Kaine said “the only guarantor of democracy is the active engagement of the people.” It is possible Trump will be forced out early, but “likely not.” He said the most important challenge now is to “protect [Special Counsel] Robert Mueller and his investigation,” and to ensure election security going into the November midterms.
Kaine was in Falls Church speaking to a group of Vietnamese-Americans at the new Saigon 57 restaurant down from the Original Pancake House on Lee Highway. Open only a month, the restaurant is owned by the founder of the popular Fortune Restaurant in Seven Corners.
“These are challenging times,” Kaine told the audience, and he stressed the important role of immigrants in the growth of the country. His Northern Virginia Mason District campaign coordinator Kevin Lamb, who introduced him, said his parents were “boat people” who fled in the fall of Saigon in 1975, and that immigrant ancestors “make up the tapestry that we call America.”
Kaine said that he himself is the child of immigrants from Ireland who came before “to find a path to success.” Immigrants “are not a problem here, but a strength. They are “like a transfusion in the blood to keep the country going,” he said.
Sixty years ago, Kaine noted, only one in 100 Virginians were born outside the U.S., and the state had the 38th largest economy. Now, one in nine Virginians is born outside the U.S., and the state is 12th in per capita income in the U.S.
“You can’t convince me that immigration isn’t good for Virginia,” he said. “We are all mortal,” he added, “which is why the need for health care equalizes us all.”
Kaine, who was the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee in 2016, said he’s running for re-election to the U.S. Senate this fall “not to run against anyone, but because I want to keep making a difference.” He says he enjoys going around the state listening to what his constituents say, and learning from some innovative approaches that are being taken to solve problems, like the way opioid addiction and treatment is being handled in some prisons.
Kaine said his campaign slogan is “A Virginia That Works for All.” He stressed the “dignity” and “need for opportunity” of work, and the skills training programs required. But the key words he said are the last two, “for all.”
These two words are the same as the final two words of the Pledge of Allegiance, and define an indispensable core value of the nation, he said.
The Charlottesville riot a year ago “preached hate and division and Trump egged them on,” he remarked. “Three people were killed and many others were beaten up.”
“But we need everyone to be for all people,” he said. “Virginia is for lovers and not haters.”
He said he is “running with a lot of colleagues” in this November’s midterm elections, including 11 running in every Congressional district in Virginia. “We all have to decide that we’re acting in life as individuals or as a team. I think we do better as a team,” he said.