PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — Sen. Tim Kaine, accepting Hillary Clinton’s invitation to join her as running mate, cited as an inspiration a Holocaust survivor who died protecting others during a shooting massacre.
Kaine, D-Va., appeared Saturday with Clinton at Florida International University in Miami a day after she announced her pick.
Kaine pledged he would continue to press for gun control and recalled the trauma his state underwent during the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, when a rampaging student killed 32 people.
Without naming him, Kaine said he was especially moved by the story of Liviu Librescu, an engineering professor who died blocking the door as the killer attempted to enter his classroom.
Librescu, “who could survive the Holocaust, who could survive the Soviet takeover of his country, but who fell victim to gun violence and told his students to climb out the window as his body was being riddled with bullets,” Kaine said, stopping to gather his emotions.
Kaine, helping to lead a Democratic filibuster last month that led to a vote on gun control measures, invoked the memory of Librescu in a floor speech. Appearing with Clinton two days before the launch of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Kaine focused much of his speech on distinguishing Clinton, who was present and appeared more at ease than she has during much of her campaign to become the Democratic nominee, and her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump.
He called Trump the candidate of “You’re fired,” the catchphrase of his reality show, “The Apprentice,” and Clinton, the candidate of “You’re hired!” He also spoke extensively in fluent Spanish.
Kaine as Virginia governor from 2006 to 2010 forged close ties with the state’s Jewish community, which has grown rapidly in its Washington suburbs. As a senator, he has taken an interest in the Middle East – in part to build up his national security credentials – and has visited Israel frequently.