Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine appears to have evolved on the degree of moral leniency that should be afforded scandal-plagued politicians: In 2002, the Democratic vice presidential candidate suggested President Bill Clinton should have resigned in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Kaine, then Lt. Governor of Virginia, condemned Vance Wilkins, speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, for reportedly paying a former female employee at his construction company $100,000 after she accused him of sexually harassing her.
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“If the allegations are true, [Wilkins] should definitely resign,” Kaine said, according the Richmond Times-Dispatch on June 8, 2002. Kaine went on to say that he held the same view about Clinton when the Lewinsky sex scandal broke.
“That is an intolerable way to treat women and it’s not something that the state should be dragged through,” Kaine said.
That same day, The Washington Post also quoted Kaine as denouncing infidelity scandals and cover-ups, saying “somebody in public life shouldn’t behave that way toward women.”
“It’s tawdry. It’s not the leadership that Virginia should have.”
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A third report showed Kaine’s believed the allegations against Wilkins to be “beneath the dignity of the office.”
“When I read it this morning, my reaction was the same I had when I read about the Clinton-Lewinsky affair: This is not appropriate conduct,” Kaine told The Associated Press.
Now, 14 years later, Kaine is the chief apologist for his scandal-ridden running mate.
“I know that this is something that she’s learned from,” Kaine said in an Aug.7 appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” discussing Clinton’s lingering email server controversy. “We’re going to be real transparent, absolutely,” Kaine added.