In last night vice-presidential debate Tim Kaine brought up Trump’s shady business practices and refusal to release his tax returns. Calling the Trump Organization “an octopus-like organization with tentacles all over the world,” Kaine said Trump’s refusal to release tax returns was hiding potential conflicts of interest. While Pence simply looked on and shook his head, Kaine slammed the organization for its reported ties to Russia and noted that, unlike the Clinton Foundation, the Trump Organization is “putting money into Donald Trump’s pockets” from unknown business dealings. Kaine tore into Trump’s reputation for cutting corners in his business affairs, mentioning the numerous fraud allegations against Trump University and an “illegal contribution” to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. “This is the difference between a foundation that does good work, and a secretary of State who acted in accordance with American interests, and somebody who is conflicted and won’t share with the American public what he’s doing and what those conflicts are,” Kaine said. Pence repeatedly tried to ignore statements Trump actually said — or simply shook his head and ignored the question. “I’m happy to defend [Trump],” Pence said. But Pence rarely actually defended Trump. Instead, he dodged or outright denied his running mate’s statements.
“Six times tonight, I have said to Governor Pence: I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next,” Kaine said, his voice somewhat squeaky with frustration. “And in all six cases, he’s refused to defend his running mate, and yet he is asking everybody to vote for somebody that he cannot defend.”