Sen. Tim Kaine weighs in on upcoming election, pandemic response, transfer of ICE detainees


WASHINGTON (WAVY) — Sen. Tim Kaine is speaking out about the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, the transfer of ICE detainees, and the upcoming election.

In terms of the election, Kaine says lawmakers have embraced strategies to promote a full, fair and comprehensive election. He also says lawmakers want to give people options so that they feel safe and confident that their vote will be counted. Kaine plans to vote on Friday morning, when early voting in the commonwealth begins.

Kaine also discussed the Republicans’ COVID-19 relief bill, calling it “skinny.”

“If we’re going to be trying to help people through COVID-19, we can’t vote for a bill that has zero dollars for rental assistance, zero dollars for mortgage assistance, zero dollars for food assistance or snap benefits, zero dollars for state and federal aid,” said Kaine. “I’m going to keep pushing for a bipartisan package because Virginians need it, Americans need it. The priorities in this bill should be the families and individuals who are still suffering so significantly.”

He did not mince words when offering his opinion on President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

Kaine said, “The president has been an abysmal failure. I believe this will probably go down in American history as one of the worst failures of domestic governance.”

During a media call, Kaine also discussed a report about the transfer of ICE detainees to a detention center in Farmville, Virginia, calling them cruel and unsafe.

“These transfers, by bringing in people from other jurisdictions, significantly raise the risk of COVID exposure in the facilities, one in Farmville, one in Caroline,” said Kaine. “But much more broadly in the community, because these transfers not only affect the detainees and their health, they affect all the staff members and these facilities and their health.”

He says the transfer put federal employees and detainees at risk and was a way for the government to bring federal agents to the D.C. area to dispel protests.

Kaine said, “In early June, the DHS ordered a transfer of a sizable number of detainees to Virginia as a subterfuge. What they really wanted to do was bring federal law enforcement agents into the region so that they could be available to undertake police actions against peaceful protesters in D.C.”

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