Pence Knocked For Calling Trump Disses About Immigrants ‘That Mexican Thing’

Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence answers a question during the vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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At the tail end of a vice presidential debate night spent defending running mate Donald Trump’s inflammatory past comments, a seemingly frustrated Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Tuesday criticized Democratic VP nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) for bringing up “that Mexican thing again.” Observers on social media quickly took note.

The line began trending on Twitter, with Mexican immigrants sharing stories of how their families came to the United States and criticizing the Republican ticket for belittling their contributions to society. Hillary Clinton’s campaign jumped on the gaffe, purchasing the domain name and having it redirect to a donation page on her website.

The initial exchange came during a conversation about abortion, a procedure for which Trump said women should face “some sort of punishment” for obtaining if it becomes outlawed. When Pence said his running mate simply misspoke and would “never” adapt such a policy, Kaine said Trump’s words should be taken at face value, pointing at the real estate mogul’s speech announcing his presidential run in which he labeled Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals.”

“Senator, you’ve whipped out that Mexican thing again,” Pence said.

“Can you defend it?” Kaine asked.

“There are criminal aliens in this country, Tim, who have come into this country illegally who are perpetrating violence and taking American lives,” Pence said.

“You want to—you want to use a big broad brush against Mexicans on that?” Kaine asked.

“He also said ‘and many of them are good people.’ You keep leaving that out of your quote. And if you want me to go there, I’ll go there,” Pence replied.

Trump’s actual line was a bit less sunny. From the lobby of Trump Tower in June 2015, the Republican candidate proclaimed that Mexico was “not sending their best,” “sending people that have lots of problems,” including “rapists” and those bringing “drugs” and “crime,” but that “some, I assume, are good people.”

Watch Kaine and Pence’s back-and-forth below via PBS:

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