Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard confirmed on Wednesday that during her secret visit to Syria earlier this month she met with President Bashar al-Assad to discuss peace in the ongoing civil war. Asked by CNN host Jake Tapper whether she met with the leader, she confirmed and explained, “My reason for going to visit Syria was really because of the suffering of the Syrian people that has been weighing heavily on my heart.” Asked whether she has regrets about giving any credibility to a leader responsible for thousands of deaths and millions of displacements, she replied, “Whatever you think about President Assad, the fact is that he is the president of Syria. In order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him.” She later suggested that “the Syrian people will determine his outcome and what happens with their government,” prompting Tapper to note that their elections are not free and fair. The Hawaiian lawmaker responded that Syrians confronted her about America’s role in allegedly supporting terror-linked groups (“these so-called rebel groups,” as she described them) fighting against Assad’s regime.
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