- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sen. Tim Kaine on Tuesday defended Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment, saying the former first lady was merely calling out the racism, xenophobia and sexism swirling around Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Speaking at a campaign rally at the University of Michigan, Mr. Kaine suggested the remarks were entirely appropriate, though he also tried to turn the words into an attack on Mr. Trump himself, rather than a harsh critique of his supporters.

“She advanced the notion that if you’re chumming around with the head of the KKK … that’s deplorable,” Mr. Kaine said. “You’ve got to call that out. If you’re attacking immigrants, that’s deplorable. If you’re attacking LGBT Americans, that’s deplorable. If you’re attacking people because they’re Muslims, that’s deplorable.”

Mr. Kaine was referencing former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, an avid Trump supporter and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Louisiana. Mr. Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, repeatedly have denounced Mr. Duke; Mr. Pence said again Tuesday the campaign does not want his support, nor the support of anyone who supports his views.

But Mr. Kaine said that was not enough. He pointed to a recent interview in which Mr. Pence refused to call Mr. Duke “deplorable.” Mr. Pence said he’s not in the “name-calling business” and wouldn’t use the term.

“If you cannot call out bigotry, if you cannot call out racism, xenophobia, if you can’t call it out and you stand back and you’re silent about it, you’re enabling it to grow,” Mr. Kaine said. “I’m happy to be on a ticket with somebody who’s not afraid to call out bad behavior.”

At a fundraiser over the weekend, Mrs. Clinton referred to half of Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables” that is “irredeemable.” She has since said she regrets lumping so many Trump supporters into that categorization and specifically said she’s sorry for saying “half” of the businessman’s backers are deplorable.

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