Speaking yesterday to the “Friday Power Lunch,” Sen. Tim Kaine had some VERY interesting things to say about “would-be dictator who tried to seize power” Donald Trump’s love for authoritarians like Vladimir Putin, his trashing of our closest allies (including NATO), and “this weird fascination that we see on the Republican side – not all Republicans, but some – with the dictatorial authoritarians.” See below for video, followed by a transcript of Sen. Kaine’s comments.
“Power Lunch” host Katherine White: “There’s a lot of talk about Republicans response to this, especially Lindsey Graham talking about assassination. And also you see the money funneling in, and we saw that back 2016 when the Russians really attacked…our vote, they attacked our democracy with social media and disinformation. And this has been ramping up ever since. And you see this funneling and this…shift with the Republican Party and embracing a little bit of the tactics of disinformation and also money in…the NRA account, there’s money in McCarthy’s account that was found and he gave it back. But…something is going on…what is going on with this Republican Party and the Russian tactics and also money?”
Sen. Tim Kaine: ‘Well if you look at you know really with Donald Trump, I mean he loved the authoritarians, because he was a would-be authoritarian. That’s why he liked Putin. That’s why he…tried to develop the relationship with Kim Jong-un. I mean Donald Trump was a would-be dictator who tried to seize power and extend his term on January 6th rather than allow a peaceful transfer of power – the first time that’s happened in our nation. And it succeeded for a few hours; it didn’t succeed at the end of the day, but it did stop the the counting of the election. So there is this weird fascination that we see on the Republican side – not all Republicans, but some – with the dictatorial authoritarians. And then the other thing that President Trump did – and many of my colleagues went along with him in this – is they trashed alliances like NATO. So they were cozying up to dictators and then they were shredding alliances. And whether it was questioning the viability of NATO or using national security waivers to impose tariffs on Canada and Mexico and Europe who have been our national security partners, they’re not our enemies. The Trump era really hurt these alliances in significant ways.
But that’s something that Joe Biden is really good at; as a member and chair of the foreign relations committee for many many years, he understands the importance of these alliances. And…even even the sharing of the intelligence the US has done with our allied nations that they did, Putin was going to invade, they understood what he was doing in terms of troops, but they thought it was…an exercise. We really shared with them, no, we believe this is the case. And we were right, and my EU colleagues have said you guys were right, and the fact that you shared this…has increased your credibility, you weren’t hiding cards close to your vest.
So I hope that that now we see what Putin is doing, that most of my Republican colleagues will veer away from cozying up to dictators and once again will see the value of alliances.”