Democratic VP Candidate Tim Kaine to Give Interview in Spanish to Telemundo

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Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine

Hillary Clinton's pick has already received criticism for his use of Spanish from a Trump surrogate.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine has granted one of his first interviews as Hillary Clinton's vice presidential pick to Telemundo, the NBC Universal-owned Spanish language network. The interview was conducted by correspondent Rebeka Smyth and will air Monday on the network's 6:30 p.m. newscast Noticiero Telemundo.

Kaine first learned Spanish as a 20-year-old doing missionary in Honduras. And his fluency in Spanish has been touted as a selling point for the Clinton campaign and meant to stand in stark contrast to Donald Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric.

Already a Trump surrogate has spurred a social media backlash for criticizing Kaine's use of Spanish in a speech in Miami on Saturday. Attempting to contrast Trump and the Republicans with Kaine and the Democrats, Scottie Nell Hughes told CNN's Wolf Blitzer: “What Mr. Trump did, he spoke in a language all Americans can understand ― that is English. I didn’t have to get a translator for anything that was going on at the [Republican National Convention] this week."

She continued by invoking the title of a popular bilingual children's program on PBS: "I’m hoping I’m not going to have to start brushing up on my Dora the Explorer to understand some of the speeches given this week."

Kaine was a frequent guest on the Spanish-speaking network a couple years ago when the Senate was debating an ultimately doomed bipartisan immigration reform bill. He delivered a speech on the Senate floor in Spanish in support of the bill, known as the "Gang of Eight" bill. 

“This is a language that has been spoken in this country ever since Spanish missionaries founded San Agustín, Fla. (today’s Saint Augustine), in 1565,” he said. “Close to 40 million Americans speak the language today. We will show our country and the world that this piece of legislation is not Republican or Democratic but, rather, strongly bipartisan and American.”

 

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