Sen. Tim Kaine reelection event in Old Town interrupted by protestors calling for Gaza ceasefire

Protestors calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war with Hamas repeatedly interrupted a reelection campaign event for U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) today in Old Town.

Virginia’s junior senator spoke before a packed house at Augie’s Mussell House (1106 King Street), and was interrupted five times by protestors, who were escorted out of the restaurant.

“Call for a full ceasefire now,” one protestor shouted before being led from the room.

In February, Kaine, who is a member of Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, wrote a letter to President Biden urging a deescalation to the conflict, which started last October when Hamas launched an attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip and killed an estimated 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages.

Jonathan Krall of Grassroots Alexandria was one of the protestors who interrupted Kaine.

“The political landscape has changed,” Krall told ALXnow after being escorted from the event. “The majority of people want a cease-fire. Many, many people have woken up to what’s going on with national-scale ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and so we’re speaking up. On top of all that, there’s an area-wide starvation of Gaza. People are starving and they’re dropping bombs on them, and we’re funding it. And he refuses to acknowledge that this is a genocide and they refuse to stop the money or weapons going to Israel, like 500 pound bombs. Those are only meant to kill lots of people.”

Kaine has spent the last two days opening campaign offices throughout Northern Virginia as part of his “Standing Up For Virginia” tour — his first official launch week of his 2024 Senate campaign.

Today’s incident echoes a speech he made yesterday in Charlottesville that was also beset by protestors seeking a ceasefire in Gaza.

Kaine did not respond to the protestors today or take questions from reporters after the event. In Charlottesville yesterday, Kaine reportedly spoke with protestors after his speech and said that he does want a ceasefire, but only when Israeli hostages are released.

Kaine asked Biden to support sending defensive weapons to Israel, and said that the war has resulted in nearly 30,000 Palestinian deaths, two-thirds of whom were women and children.

“Tens of thousands have been wounded and over 1.7 million people displaced,” Kaine wrote. “The facilities to deal with an injured and desperate population have been dramatically weakened. The amount of humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza has been grossly insufficient and starvation for thousands is a real threat. Hospitals in Gaza have been badly damaged and most are no longer functioning. These harsh consequences are tragic and are stoking escalating violence in the region.”

Kaine was preceded in his remarks by his wife, Anne Holton, as well as State Senate Majority Leader Scott Surovell (D-34), Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-39), House of Delegates Majority Leader Del. Charniele Herring (D-4) and Del. Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (D-5).

Kaine was Hillary Clinton’s Democratic vice presidential running mate in 2016, and railed against former President Donald Trump.

“At the federal level, we stand up,” Kaine said. “There’s a battle going on in this country, but around the world, between those who stand up for others and stand up together and those who will tear us down and tear us apart.”

Kaine continued, “We are up against the greatest tear-down artist in the history of American politics in the disgraced ex-President Donald J. Trump. He tears down our basic values… like honesty, patriotism, fidelity, respect for others, kindness, tears down rights that we’ve counted on for generations, like the rights of people that make their own reproductive healthcare decisions, tears it down and brags about it. Tears down alliances like NATO, tears down basic concepts like the right of alternative health care.”

There are currently eight Republican candidates in the running to face Kaine this November.

Kaine said that the country needs to coalesce around “meaningful immigration reform that respects our roots as a nation,” with legislation that provides “moral order rather than chaos.”

Kaine also said that he’ll never forget when Republicans attempted to get the Affordable Care Act overturned in 2017, but that the effort was stopped by one Senate vote — by former Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain who voted in opposition.

“We saved healthcare for Virginians and Americans by one vote,” Kaine said. “Sometimes all it takes is one person willing to stand up.”