In a manner of speaking, Sen. Tim Kaine endured his own “Aleppo moment” (or two) during the vice-presidential debate when moderator Elaine Quijano asked him about the war-torn Syrian city. No, Kaine didn’t offer anything quite like Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson’s infamous gaffe, but seeing as how he chose to discuss Donald Trump’s tax returns instead, chances are the media’s reactions aren’t going to be entirely positive. Besides, what — if anything — does the Republican nominee’s incessant refusal to publicize his tax returns for transparency’s sake have to do with the Syrian civil war?
Nothing really, but according to the tangential logic Kaine displayed Tuesday night, Trump’s allegedly not paying taxes in 1995 and the years that followed “is important”:
KAINE: I’ll tell you what offends me. Gov. Pence just said Donald Trump will rebuild the military. No he won’t. Donald Trump is avoiding paying taxes. The New York Times story suggested that he probably didn’t pay taxes for about 18 years starting in 1995. Those years included the years of 9/11. So get this: On 9/11, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s hometown was attacked by the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United States. Young men and women signed up to serve in the military to fight terrorism. Hillary Clinton went to Washington to get funds to rebuild her city and protect first responders, but Donald Trump was fighting a very different fight. It was a fight to avoid paying taxes, so that he wouldn’t support the fight against terror, he wouldn’t support the troops…
QUIJANO: The question was about Aleppo, senator.
KAINE: This is important, Elaine.
Kaine finished his bit about Trump’s tax returns, though did stress he had addressed Quijano’s actual question before launching into it. Yet when the moderator turned to Pence with a followup question about proposing “safe zones” in and around Aleppo for Syrians fleeing the conflict, the Indiana governor rebutted Kaine’s claims — thereby instigating additional non-Aleppo comments from the Virginian senator about Trump’s taxes.
That, and ignoring Quijano’s attempts to keep the debate on task and on schedule.