- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine on Sunday flatly said he believes Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is encouraging his supporters to engage in acts of violence against Democrat Hillary Clinton, arguing that the real estate mogul is using gun rights as an issue to whip up anger in conservative circles.

The Democratic vice-presidential nominee told “Fox News Sunday” that Mr. Trump’s recent comments about Mrs. Clinton show he either wants his supporters to turn violent or simply doesn’t care if someone is hurt as a result of his words. Asked directly whether he believes Mr. Trump is inciting violence, Mr. Kaine said, “I do.”

“He is using language that is an incitement to violence or an encouragement of violence, or at least being cavalier and reckless about violence. And that has no place in any election,” Mr. Kaine said. “When you look at a series of these comments he’s making, I do believe it is an incitement or at a minimum an expression of indifference whether violence would occur.”

Mr. Trump on Friday said that Mrs. Clinton would be much more supportive of Second Amendment rights if she didn’t have armed bodyguards protecting her at all times. He said “let’s see what happens to her” if the bodyguards were no longer in place.

And last month, Mr. Trump suggested that “Second Amendment people” could stop Mrs. Clinton from becoming president, a comment critics interpreted as a call to violence.

But Mr. Trump has denied that he has in any way called for violence, and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, on Sunday stood by the bodyguards comment, He said Mrs. Clinton would indeed feel differently about gun rights if she weren’t constantly protected by firearms.

“His comment was that if she didn’t have all that security, she’d change her attitude about the right to keep and bear arms. And I’ll bet that’s probably true,” Mr. Pence told ABC’s “This Week.”

He added that suggesting the Trump campaign is encouraging violence is “absolute nonsense.”

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday” immediately after Mr. Kaine made his comments, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the Virginia senator should be “ashamed of himself.”

“When a race gets tight, even a guy like Tim Kaine gets desperate,” the Republican governor and top Trump adviser said. “He owes Donald Trump an apology … Sen. Kaine should be ashamed of himself for saying Donald Trump would like to have violence perpetrated against Hillary Clinton.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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