Born into an Irish Catholic family in Saint Paul, Minnesota on February 26, 1958, Timothy Kaine earned a BA degree from the University of Missouri in 1979 and a JD from the Harvard University School of Law in 1983. Following his first year of law school, Kaine took a year off from his studies in order to work with Jesuit missionaries in the city of El Progresso, Honduras, where he taught English, religion, and welding classes to young people. During the nine months he spent in Honduras, Kaine developed a keen interest in the teachings of local priests, who, according to University of Costa Rica anthropology professor Dr. Andres León Araya, “were all … influenced by liberation theology.” In a September 2016 article titled “Tim Kaine’s Radical Roots,” Ken Blackwell, a former ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights, notes that liberation theology was “quite possibly a product of a Kremlin disinformation campaign designed to undermine the Church and bring Catholic countries into the Soviet sphere.” And Kaine, writes Blackwell, “embraced not some reconstituted, post-Marxist version, but the hardcore, Cold War variety — an avowed Marxist ideology inimical to the institutional Catholic Church and to the United States.” “Just how hardcore were his Jesuit teachers?” Blackwell asks. “Well, around the time Kaine was there [in Honduras], Jesuits were arrested for gunrunning, and, the next year, the Honduran government banned any more American Jesuits from coming to that country because of their left-wing activism.”
During his time in Honduras, Kaine was particularly intrigued by one Father James Carney, S.J., an American-born priest who preached liberation theology and revolution, and who in 1979 had been exiled from Honduras due to his promotion of Marxist doctrines; Kaine sought out Carney during a short stay in Nicaragua. And according to New York Times reporter Jason Horowitz, Kaine himself “embraced” liberation theology and said “that his exposure to liberation theology … ‘changed him, it deepened him.’” Conservative author and activist David Horowitz has described Kaine as “a former Christic Institute Marxist who supported the communist guerrillas in Central America during the Cold War.”
After completing his legal education, Kaine joined a civil litigation firm and practiced law for 17 years, representing people who claimed to have been denied housing opportunities for reasons of race or disability. He also served as chairman of Freedom House, a nonprofit organization that helped homeless residents of Richmond, Virginia. Moreover, Kaine sat on the board of a fair-housing nonprofit group named Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME). And he spent time as a professor of legal ethics at the University of Richmond School of Law.
Kaine launched his political career as a Democrat in the mid-1990s, serving as a member of the Richmond City Council (1995-98); mayor of Richmond (1998-2001); lieutenant governor of Virginia (2002-06); governor of Virginia (2006-10); and U.S. senator from Virginia (2013-present). On July 22, 2016, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton named Kaine as her vice presidential running mate; they eventually lost to Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
Kaine was involved in controversy related to a 1985 incident where University of Virginia student Jens Soering, a German citizen, had brutally murdered the parents of a girl he was dating. Three years after that incident, Kaine provided a sworn affidavit in support of Soering’s attempt to avoid extradition from England, to where the killer had fled following his crime. Soering was delivered to Virginia only after authorities agreed to reduce his capital murder charges and thereby eliminate any possibility of the death penalty, and in 1990 he was convicted and sentenced to two life terms in prison. Just before leaving office as governor in 2010, Kaine asked the U.S. Justice Department to transfer Soering to a German prison, where he would have been eligible for release within two years. The Justice Department denied the request. When he was subsequently asked about this matter in a debate during his 2012 Senate campaign, Kaine cited financial considerations: “I did feel like Virginians have paid for his incarceration for a very long time—let the Germans pay to keep this guy.”
Over the years, Kaine has received numerous donations from high-ranking officials and/or board members of Islamist organizations. Specifically, from 2011-2018 he received a total of $13,800 in contributions from individuals affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America, the SAAR Foundation (SAFA Trust Group), the International Institute of Islamic Thought, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In 2012 the New Virginia Majority, a Freedom Road Socialist Organization front group that seeks to effect “the progressive transformation of Virginia,” supported Kaine’s bid for a U.S. Senate seat. Other supporters included the Council for a Livable World and J Street, the latter of which also endorsed and funded Kaine in his “off-cycle” years of 2014 and 2016.
In early 2015, Kaine objected strenuously when Republican House Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress about the gravity of the growing Iranian nuclear threat and his “profound disagreement” with the negotiated deal that the Obama Administration was pursuing with Iran. Kaine joined seven other Senate Democrats in boycotting Netanyahu’s speech. That summer, Kaine declared himself a “strong supporter” of the final agreement, which would allow the Islamist regime in Tehran to enrich uranium, build advanced centrifuges, purchase ballistic missiles, fund terrorism, and be guaranteed of having a near-zero breakout time to the development of a nuclear bomb approximately a decade down the road.
In May 2015, Kaine was one of 14 U.S. senators who wrote a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to allow 65,000 people from war-torn, terrorism-ravaged Syria into the United States as refugees, despite many people’s concern that terrorists could potentially infiltrate the refugee program.
Later that same year, Kaine opposed a bill passed by the House of Representatives that would have required more careful vetting of Syrians and Iraqis before they could be admitted to the United States as refugees. “These refugees are people who are terrorized, not terrorists,” Kaine said in a November 2015 interview wherein he claimed that “the refugee vetting process is one of the safest areas that we have.” In a speech on the Senate floor the following month, Kaine said: “I look at this refugee crisis as a test … about whether we, like [the biblical] Job, will be true to our principles or whether we’ll abandon them.” He also urged his fellow legislators to emulate the example of the 17th-century “Indians down near Jamestown Island” who had helped starving English settlers to survive by offering “an extension of a hand to strangers in a strange land.”
In 2015 as well, Kaine was a co-sponsor of S 299, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015, which sought to allow U.S. citizens to engage in unrestricted travel to Cuba for the first time since 1963.
In August 2016, Kaine suggested that women in America have fewer opportunities to succeed in politics than women in various Third World nations. Noting that women held 19% of all seats in the federal legislature, he said: “Hold on for this, folks. Nineteen percent ranks the United States 75th in the world, below the global average. Iraq is 26 percent. Afghanistan is 28 percent. Number one [is] Rwanda. Sixty-four percent. So for reasons, some of which I understand, some of which I don’t, we have made it hard. We have made it hard for women to be elected to the highest positions in our federal legislature and as president.”
In an Arizona speech which he delivered in Spanish just days before the 2016 presidential election, Kaine told a Latino audience that he favored the federal immigration policies that were transforming the demographics of the United States, saying: “You are the future of America. By 2050, communities of color will represent the majority of our population. So, of course, Latinos will help shape the future of America because you are the future of America.” Kaine also said that a Clinton-Kaine administration would “end family detention,” “close private detention facilities,” freeze deportations, and give citizenship to illegals residing in the country. In addition, Kaine vowed to expand President Obama’s executive actions regarding amnesty: “A few months ago, the Supreme Court put DAPA on hold. That was devastating for millions of families. But it’s important to note that the Court didn’t actually rule on the substance of the case. Hillary and I have always said that DAPA is squarely within the President’s authority, and we will keep fighting for it.”
In the same Arizona speech, Kaine pledged to continue the policy of birthright citizenship — meaning, as Breitbart.com explains, that “a pregnant foreign national in the country illegally can give birth to a child, who will be awarded U.S. citizen, and is, therefore, entitled to collect federal welfare, vote in U.S. elections, and eventually obtain green cards for his or her parents, despite their prior illegal entry into the United States.” Moreover, Kaine condemned Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s prior calls for assimilation that included making English the national language. “Spanish was the first European language spoken in this country,” said Kaine. “A few years ago, I gave the first speech ever delivered in Spanish on the Senate floor. Since we were debating a bill about immigration, explaining it in Spanish just made sense — especially since it’s the language of more than 40 million people in this country who are most affected by this issue.”
In March 2017, Senator Kaine’s 25-year-old son, Linwood Michael Kaine, was part of a large mob of people who harassed many of the 400+ attendees at a pro-Trump rally in Minnesota, and who also used smoke bombs, mace and fireworks to disrupt the proceedings. Though Kaine tried to run from the scene when police officers arrived, he was eventually caught, though he fought back forcefully and violently against the police before he could be subdued. The young man was subsequently charged with three misdemeanors — fleeing on foot, concealing identity in a public place, and obstructing the legal process — and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. He ended up serving only 4 of those days behind bars, however. He also was required to pay $236 in fines and fees, and to perform a year of community service.
In September 2017, Tim Kaine refused to condemn Antifa, claiming he did not know enough about that Marxist-anarchist street movement to pass judgment on it: “I don’t like broad brushes and I don’t know enough about them to say that they’re terrorists but people who do violent things,” he told the Daily Caller in a statement. “The law should take care of them.”
In a December 2018 appearance on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, Kaine argued that senators should not cave to what he described as President Trump’s “bully[ing]” tactics regarding the funding and construction of his proposed border wall. Said Kaine: “Let me tell you what we can’t do. I have a long rule from about elementary school that you do not back down to a bully. You never back down to a bully…. This president caves to bullies, and so he bows to bullies like North Korea and Russia, and Turkey and even China.”
In a January 2019 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine said that President Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border was nothing more than an “ineffective” “vanity project” that would “waste taxpayer money” for no good reason.
In a March 2019 appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation, Kaine, discussing two mass shootings that had just killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, blamed President Trump’s allegedly reckless, bigoted rhetoric for emboldening white nationalists and racists to engage in such acts of violence:
“[White nationalism] is on the rise and the president should call it out but sadly he’s not doing that. We saw in the aftermath of the horrible [August 2017] attack in Charlottesville that he tried to say that the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, neo confederates there were just, you know, good people. But when you see church shootings in Charleston, a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, you see this hate filled manifesto of the shooter in New Zealand who is murdering Muslims, we have to confront the fact that there is a rise in white supremacy, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim attitudes. The president uses language often that’s very similar to the language used by these bigots and racists. And if he’s not going to call it out then other leaders have to do more to call it out and I certainly will.”
After President Trump had ordered a precision airstrike that killed Iranian Quds Force Supreme Commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in early January 2020, Kaine launched into a lengthy discussion about the dangers of going to war with Iran:
“The question is not whether Soleimani was a despicable killer, he was. And the question is not whether Iran is a bad actor, they are. The question is whether the United States should be engaged in another unnecessary war in the Middle East. I believe it is very foolish for the U.S. to be involved in another war in the Middle East. But however you think about that question, should we be at war, I do know this. We should not go to a war with Iran based on a presidential decision with no consultation of Congress. We should only go to war with Iran if there is a congressional vote pursuant to the Constitution saying that we need to be at war. And so today I’m going to take the one step that I have available to me. I will file a resolution pursuant to the War Powers act of 1974 to try to force Congress to have a debate about whether or not it is in the United States’ interests to be at war with Iran. I don’t think it is. Some of my colleagues may think otherwise. But we can’t let the president make this decision on his own. We should not be committing our troops to war unless Congress has the guts to debate and vote that it’s in the national interest. President Trump clearly believes he can wage war without Congress. That’s not what the Constitution says. And I’m going to do everything I can to force us to have that debate…. What I do not accept is the notion that a president can ignore the Constitution and engage in escalatory actions against the advice of his Department of Defense that have brought to us the brink of war.”
In a June 16, 2020 speech, Kaine claimed that the United States “created” slavery and “didn’t inherit slavery from anybody”:
“The first African Americans sent into the English colonies came to Point Comfort in 1619. They were slaves, they had been captured against their will, but they landed in colonies that didn’t have slavery — there were no laws about slavery in the colonies at that time. The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it. It got created by the Virginia General Assembly and the legislatures of other states. It got created by the court systems in colonial America and since that enforced fugitive slave laws.
“We created it, and we created it and maintained it over centuries, and in my lifetime, we have finally stopped some of those practices, but we’ve never gone back to undo it. Stopping racist practices at year 350 of 400 years, but then taking no effort to dismantle them, is not the same as truly combating racism. But I’m mindful of the challenge laid down by our young people. No more politics as usual.”
Kaine ranks among the most far-left political figures in the United States today. The American Conservative Union (ACU), which has graded Members of Congress based on their votes on issues important to conservatives each year since 1971, gives Kaine a score of 0% in most years. Similarly, ConservativeReview.com‘s annual ratings for Kaine have consistently ranged between 0% and 2%.
As matters of principle, Kaine believes that:
Further Reading: “Tim Kaine” (Ballotpedia.org, Keywiki.org, Votesmart.org ); “He’s No One’s Idea of a Liberal Hero, But Tim Kaine Is a Natural Fit for Clinton” (Mother Jones, 7-7-2016).
Kaine: The Face of the Democrats’ Dangerous Foreign Policy Priorities
By Joseph Klein
July 25, 2016
Tim Kaine’s Radical Roots
By Ken Blackwell
September 9, 2016