Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was greeted with a “warm aloha” on the The View Wednesday morning. But things didn’t stay sunny for long.
As the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate began to lay out how her time serving in Iraq has influenced her non-interventionist foreign policy position, Meghan McCain was just itching to push back. “Can I interrupt you?” she asked.
After thanking Gabbard for her service, McCain told her, “When I hear the name Tulsi Gabbard, I think of Assad apologist. I think of someone who comes back to the United States and is spouting propaganda from Syria.”
The co-host was referring to a controversial trip Gabbard made to Syria two years ago. While there, she met with President Bashar al-Assad and defended him upon her return. More recently, she told MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “Assad is not the enemy of the United States because Syria does not pose a direct threat to the United States.”
“You have said that the Syrian president, Assad, is not the enemy of the United States,” McCain continued, “yet he’s used chemical weapons against his own people 300 times.” When she says that “regime change” would be hurtful to that country but “gassing children isn't more hurtful, it's hard for me to understand where you would come from a humanitarian standpoint if you were to become president.”
In response, Gabbard accused McCain of “putting words in [her] mouth,” but she did not alter her fundamental stance. Asked to clarify her position, she said, “An enemy of the United States is someone who threatens our safety and our security.”
“There is no disputing the fact that Bashar al-Assad and Syria is a brutal dictator,” Gabbard added. “There's no disputing the fact that he has used chemical weapons and other weapons against his people. There are other terrorist groups in Syria who have used similar chemical weapons and other weapons of terror against the people of Syria.”
That last statement is one that could be considered “propaganda” from the Assad regime.
All of that being said, Gabbard declared, “This regime change war we've been waging in Syria has not helped the Syrian people, it has made their lives worse off. It has also undermined our national security.”
McCain was not convinced.