Politics

Kaine: Race an Issue in Opposition to Obama Supreme Court Nominee

Senator Tim Kaine (D., Va.) said Wednesday that race may be a factor as to why President Obama is facing opposition in the Senate regarding his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow asked Kaine, a potential running mate for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, if the Senate is delaying the nomination process due to a fundamental disrespect for Obama.

"I think that's a very serious concern. The rationale that the Republicans use, ‘We want to wait until the next president and let the people decide,' is what we call in civil rights, and I used to try civil rights cases, a complete pretext. That's not the way it's been done in the past," Kaine said.

"There's a lot of concern that this president's nominee has been given second-class treatment, not because of the nominee but because of the character of the president himself and that is very painful for people to contemplate about the nation's first African-American president, that they wouldn't pay him the respect of having a hearing and having a vote on a nominee in the way they've done with other presidents."

Maddow re-raised the issue of race, asking whether or not it is linked to the resistance Obama is facing from Republicans and the conservative movement over picking Garland.

"Raising the issue of this being the first African-American president, that issue of legitimacy, do you think that is the through line that explains the way Republicans and the conservative movement have treated President Obama? Do you think fundamentally it is about race, that there's a racial element to the resistance to him that people should be more explicit in discussing?" Maddow asked.

"There is an attack on his legitimacy that I think is just fundamentally different than what's come before," Kaine said.