Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine declared that the "starkest moment" of last night's third and final presidential debate in Las Vegas was when Donald Trump refused to commit to accepting the results of his presidential race against Hillary Clinton.
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"I thought that was probably the starkest moment of the debate because it’s so out of character with our democratic traditions," Kaine, Clinton's running mate, said today on "Good Morning America." "It was shocking."
Trump was asked at the debate by moderator Chris Wallace if he would concede should he lose the election. Trump, who has frequently discussed voter fraud and a "rigged" system, said, "I will tell you at the time," and "I'll keep you in suspense, OK?"
Kaine drew upon his time volunteering with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras to reflect on Trump's statement.
"I lived in Honduras as a missionary about 35 years ago, and it was a military dictatorship, and I learned there that accepting the outcome of an election and peaceful transfer of power is a core value of America and it’s often not the case around the rest of the world," he said. "This is a basic and important part of who we are, and the fact that Donald said he was not sure he could accept the results of a loss, it was just absolutely shocking."
Kaine added of Trump, "But it was in character, as Hillary pointed out. He’s a guy who won’t take responsibility for anything and if he loses he’s always going to figure out a way to blame somebody else."
In one memorable moment during the debate, Trump said that Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t appear to respect President Obama or Clinton -- to which the Democratic nominee responded, “Well, that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States."
Kaine said Clinton was "commenting upon Donald Trump's own words," adding that the Republican presidential candidate has not taken a stand against the hacking into emails of Democratic Party organizations and some of Clinton's campaign staff that U.S. intelligence officials say is linked to Russia and is part of an effort to influence the U.S. election.
"One of the things I noticed last night, again and again and again, even though the FBI and the director of national intelligence has confirmed that Russians are behind attacks on American electoral institutions -- state boards of election, the Democratic National Committee -- Donald Trump kept trying to defend Vladimir Putin," Kaine said.
"So here’s a guy who won’t defend American democratic traditions but refuses to confirm cyberhacking by Russia against the United States."
The topic came up again in the debate when Clinton was asked about her talk of her "dream of open borders" that was revealed in a purportedly hacked email of her campaign chairman, John Podesta. Clinton's response focused on the hacking into U.S. email systems rather than on immigration or trade policy.
But Kaine told "GMA" that questions about Clinton's policies on immigration and trade are fair to ask.
"I think it’s very fair to ask questions about border policy, immigration policy, trade policy, sure it is, and I know Hillary Clinton’s position," Kaine said. "She wants to do comprehensive immigration reform with a number of elements, including a path to citizenship, but also including dramatic increases to border security, just like I voted for in the Senate in June of 2013."
Kaine spoke to "GMA" from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he is campaigning on the first day of early voting in that state. He said he and Clinton, who stepped off the campaign trail for several days before the debate, will embark on "intense campaigning" in the 19 days remaining to Nov. 8.
"Hillary takes the debate preparation very seriously and, as she said in the first debate, she doesn’t apologize for preparing for a debate and she doesn’t apologize for preparing to be president of the United States," Kaine said of Clinton's absence. "Hillary and I are going to be campaigning separately but also together to now make the case in the next 19 days for why participation is so important."
Saying that it is "easy to vote," Kaine said voters this year have even more of a reason to mark their ballot.
"We’ve got to vote to send a clear mandate for what we embrace and what we reject," Kaine added. "Especially with Russia trying to tinker with our elections, that’s an additional reason for people to turn out and vote, to show that nobody outside this country has any right to influence who we choose as our next president."
Kaine debated Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, on Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.