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Tim Kaine: Trump's Birtherism Dragged Us Back To Time When Black People Were Slaves

"He is basically dragging us back to the most painful time in American history."

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Hillary Clinton's running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, says Donald Trump's crusade to prove President Obama wasn’t born in the United States harkened back to a painful time in the country when black people didn't have rights.

"At my church, and in my neighborhood, and friends in Richmond, it's an insult and it's a painful one," Kaine said Tuesday on Joe Madison's SiriusXM radio show. "You know the history, an American African in this country could not be a US citizen because of the ruling of the Dred Scott decision — free or slave, born here or born elsewhere."

"The court said you could not be a citizen, nor could your children, nor could your grandchildren, and that was who we were as a nation in our darkest, darkest days," Kaine continued "And so, we had to fight a civil war, and then write a definition of citizenship into the 14th Amendment when it was all over to clarify that people born here, including African Americans, were citizens."

Kaine said Trump's questioning of Obama dragged us back to that time.

"So when Donald Trump, beginning in 2011, after President Obama's both short- and long-form birth certificates had already been out, and investigated, and inspected, picked up on the notion and started to push for five years that President Obama was not a US citizen, he is basically dragging us back to the most painful time in American history," Kaine said.

Kaine said Trump had no good explanation at Monday's debate as to why he pushed the issue.

"He's got to be really pinned down on this question of why he did it, and did he really not know that this was painful to an awful lot of people."

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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