Tim Kaine Speaks Spanish During First Speech as Hillary Clinton's Running Mate

July 23rd 2016

During his first campaign event as Hillary Clinton's running mate on Saturday, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) revealed one of his greatest strengths heading into the general election: He's fluent in Spanish.

"Bienvenidos a todos a nuestro país porque somos americanos todos," Kaine said almost immediately after taking the podium at Florida International University in Miami. (Translation: "Welcome everyone to our country because we are all Americans.")

The crowd of supporters burst into applause over the remark, which symbolizes more for the Clinton-Kaine campaign. Kaine's ability to speak Spanish could prove essential to Clinton's Hispanic outreach efforts and broaden her lead over Trump. He learned to speak Spanish while serving as a missionary in Honduras, The Washington Post reports.

Here's how Twitter reacted to Kaine's introduction.

Clinton already leads Trump in support among Hispanic voters by a sizeable, 42-point margin, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center poll.

Sixty-six percent of Hispanic voters support Clinton to Trump's 24 percent. But Kaine's Spanish fluency can help the campaign deliver its message directly to Spanish-speaking Americans. There are about 41 million native Spanish speakers in America and another 11.6 million who are bilingual.

"[Kaine] has a lot of credibility with the Hispanic community in Virginia," Oscar Ramirez, a Democratic political strategist who previously worked with Kaine, told NBC News. "He worked closely with them, he spent time as a missionary in Central America so he definitely understands where we come from."

RELATED: Six Reasons Hillary Clinton Chose Senator Tim Kaine as Her Running Mate

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