Two overshadowed vice presidential candidates briefly emerged into the media spotlight on Tuesday night. Their areas of agreement turned out to be more telling than their disagreements.
Tim Kaine attacked Donald Trump and Michael Pence for “loving dictators,” and rolling out a “personal Mount Rushmore,” including “Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Il, Muammar Gaddafi, and Saddam Hussein.” The line mirrors a frequent attack Clinton has rolled out during her campaign:
Trump does indeed have an alarming amount of sympathy for autocratic regimes. But if voters want a president who will put distance between the U.S. and dictators, they may be out of luck. As I’ve written before, voters will be facing a choice between a president who praises dictators and a president who befriends them.
Clinton has described longtime Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak and his wife as “friends of the family.” She once called Bashar al-Assad a “reformer,” and played a central role in legitimizing a 2009 military coup in Honduras. Clinton also approved tens of billions of dollars in weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia — including aircraft and bombs now being used in Yemen — while accepting tens of millions of dollars in donations from gulf state monarchies.