Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, during a stop in Austin, denounced Republican rival Donald Trump for comments perceived as a threat against Hillary Clinton, saying they show again why Trump does not have the temperament for the White House.
"Nobody who is seeking a leadership position, especially the presidency, the leadership of the country, should do anything to countenance violence, and that's what he was saying," Kaine told reporters.
Trump made the remarks in question at a rally in North Carolina shortly before Kaine held an event in Austin.
"Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment,” Trump said. “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Trump’s campaign quickly sought to clarify the comments, issuing a statement that said Trump was referring to the potential for gun rights supporters to effect change at the ballot box. Clinton’s team, meanwhile, called Trump’s remarks dangerous and said that a presidential candidate “should not suggest violence in any way."
Kaine cited the Bible to argue that Trump was not misspeaking but revealing his true character.
"There is a beautiful phrase in the Gospel of Luke that says from the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks," Kaine told reporters. "What comes often reveals something really important about who you are, and I think Donald Trump revealed again ... a complete temperamental misfit with the character that's required to do the job."
Reminded of the Trump campaign's response, Kaine said he was not surprised his rival's team was "trying to row back" but did not buy the explanation.
"I think he was just revealing, as he has in many other statements he’s made, that [he has] just no understanding of the role of a leader," Kaine told reporters. "I don’t find the attempt to row it backward persuasive at all.”
Asked whether he agreed with calls for the Secret Service to investigate Trump for the comments, Kaine declined to say.
"I don't want to go further than I've said already," he told reporters. "I just think it is a window into the soul of a person who is just not temperamentally suited to the task."