The congresswoman from Hawaii is joining a growing pool of Democrats ready to take on President Trump in 2020. Here are 5 things to know about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
WASHINGTON – Meghan McCain didn’t hold back any criticism of 2020 hopeful Tulsi Gabbard on Wednesday during an appearance on ABC’s “The View.”
During Gabbard’s appearance on Wednesday, co-host McCain questioned the Hawaiian Democrat’s views on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who earlier this month she said was not an enemy of the U.S.
Gabbard’s appearance started warm. She told hosts why she was joining the large pool of Democratic candidates vying for the White House and talked about her military service overseas in Iraq.
But as she started talking about her views on when the U.S. should get involved in regime-change wars and stressed her non-interventionist approach, including with the ongoing conflict in Syria, McCain stopped her.
“Can I interrupt you?” asked McCain, the daughter of the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.
“When I hear the name Tulsi Gabbard, I think of Assad apologist,” McCain started. “I think of someone who comes back to the United States and is spouting propaganda from Syria.”
She continued, seeming to target Gabbard’s heavily criticized visit to Syria in 2016 where she met with Assad, who is accused of war crimes including using chemical weapons on his people.
Gabbard said at the time it was important to meet with adversaries if “you are serious about pursuing peace.”
McCain thanked Gabbard for her military service then questioned Gabbard’s stance on Syria and Assad.
“You have said that the Syrian president, Assad, is not the enemy of the United States yet he’s used chemical weapons against his own people 300 times,” McCain said. She questioned Gabbard’s view on regime-change wars being hurtful and asked wouldn’t his use of chemical gas on children be more harmful overall.
“It’s hard for me to understand where you come from, from a humanitarian standpoint if you were to become president,” McCain said.
Gabbard replied by saying that McCain had put words in her mouth and said that what the issue boils down to whether U.S. involvement has helped the situation in Syria.
“This regime change war we’ve been waging in Syria has not helped the Syrian people, it has made their lives worse off,” Gabbard said. “It has also undermined our national security.”
She added that there was “no disputing the fact that Bashar al-Assad and Syria is a brutal dictator” who has “used chemical weapons and other weapons against his people.”
But, she added while the U.S. has been involved, al-Qaeda has formed a stronghold in the country. She said as president she would push to solve the conflict in a peaceful manner.
Gabbard’s presidential campaign has gotten a rocky start since she announced in last month.
She apologized over her past remarks and actions against members of the LGBTQ community and has had hiccups with her staff. She has also faced backlash over her comments about Assad and her previous visit with the leader.
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