Kaine criticizes Trump on tax returns, business debts

By ALAN SUDERMAN - Associated Press ,

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Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. speaks at the International Ironworkers convention.

Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. speaks at the International Ironworkers convention. (Photo: AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine called on Donald Trump to release his tax returns and provide details about his companies' debts, assailing the Republican presidential nominee as untrustworthy.

"He's got to start being straight with the American people about this," Kaine said Monday. "We've got to know who Donald Trump is beholden to."

Trump has bucked long-held convention by not releasing his tax returns. The billionaire businessman has financed some of his real estate investments with help from a variety of foreign financial institutions.

The Virginia senator was speaking to the ironworkers' annual convention in Las Vegas, making an appeal to blue-collar workers attracted to Trump's anti-trade agenda. Kaine brought his father, Al Kaine, who owned a union-organized ironworking and welding shop in the Kansas City area.

Tim Kaine and his running mate, Hillary Clinton, are competing against Trump for the support of rank-and-file union members, particularly in Midwest battleground states where wages have stagnated and a decline in manufacturing jobs has hurt workers. Nevada, a political swing state, counts a number of unions for the hotel and other related industries.

Major unions, including the ironworkers, have endorsed Clinton, and the labor vote has long been a key part of the Democratic base. But Trump is aggressively courting union voters, and he's tried to paint Clinton as beholden to Wall Street interests.

Tim Kaine highlighted his family connection to the trades during his speech, noting that he grew up working weekends and summers alongside union ironworkers. Kaine said labor would have two strong allies in the White House if the Clinton-Kaine ticket won.

"You will always have a seat at the table," Kaine said.

He also criticized Trump's resistance to efforts by employees to unionize at the Republican's Las Vegas hotel.

Much of Trump's pitch to labor has centered on international trade. He has repeatedly denounced as "stupid" trade deals that he says hurt U.S. workers, and he's pledged to penalize companies for sending jobs overseas.

Trump has also said that Clinton would implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal if she's elected. While Clinton promoted the agreement dozens of times as secretary of state, she has since said she cannot support its current form. Kaine also opposes the TPP, though he voted in 2015 to support so-called fast-track authority allowing the president to negotiate trade deals that Congress can approve or deny but not amend or filibuster.

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