Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine insisted on Sunday that leaked emails from Clinton campaign advisers criticizing the Catholic Church, among other things, for “severely backwards gender relations,” do not reflect disrespect on Clinton’s part for Catholicism, and stopped short of saying the authors of the emails should apologize.
“I’m very, very serious about my Catholicism and Hillary views that as a real asset,” Kaine said. “And we’ve talked about our faith lives, as she asked me to be on the ticket with her.
“So in terms of what Hillary Clinton, who’s running for president, thinks about Catholics and the value more broadly of having a faith background, I can tell you she views at it as a plus, just as she views her own Methodism as a plus,” Kaine said.
The Virginia senator was speaking on ABC’s Sunday morning program “This Week.”
Kaine also appeared to cast doubt on the legitimacy of some of the leaked emails released last week. In one exchange, campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri talks about Catholicism with a Democratic strategist, who denounces what he calls the religion’s “severely backwards gender relations.”
Palmieri responds that some conservatives are only Catholic because “they think it is the most socially acceptable political conservative religion.”
Speaking later on Fox News, Kaine said he sees the releases as part of an effort by Wikileaks and Russia “to destabilize an American election.”
“I don’t give credence to any of these dumped documents, because I don’t even know if they’re accurate,” he told ABC.
“One e-mail has come up with my name in it and it’s completely inaccurate,” Kaine said. “Now, was it inaccurate because the sender didn’t know what he or she was talking about? Was it inaccurate because it was doctored?
“I have no way of knowing,” he said.
Raddatz pointed out that the author of one of the emails criticizing the Catholic Church has acknowledged having written it.
Kaine did not appear to believe an apology is in order to Catholics offended by the content of the emails.
“We all have opinions, and I don’t think you need to apologize for your opinions,” he said. “But, in fact, that’s a great thing about our country and even about being Catholic, we have plenty of opinions.
“So you don’t need to apologize for an opinion, but in terms of respect for the Church and people’s faith lives, Hillary Clinton has that respect, because it’s what motivates her,” he said.
On another front, Kaine was asked to respond to an email in which Trump’s anti-immigration stance is “fundamentally un-American,” a position which the vice presidential nominee appeared to endorse.
“Well, look, we’re a nation of immigrants. And if you look at the Declaration of Independence, when we broke from England, one of the Bill of Particulars against King George is we’ve got to be independent because the king won’t let us have a working immigration system,” he said.
“We are a nation of immigrants. We have to have a functioning immigration system. And for anybody whose family, you know, probably came from somewhere else a few generations ago to say, OK, but now we’re going to put up the drawbridge and not let anybody else in, I don’t think that’s in accord with the values of our nation,” Kaine said.
“To say that there should be no — to say that there should be no immigration, yes, that is definitely contrary to the best values of our country that were laid out in the Declaration of Independence and since,” he said.