Tulsi Gabbard Spars with MSNBC Anchor: ‘These Are Talking Points that Kamala Harris and Her Campaign Are Feeding You’


VOSSOUGHIAN: “Congresswoman, do you not believe that the same could be said for your meeting with Bashar al-Assad?”

GABBARD: “I don’t know how you could equate that.”

VOSSOUGHIAN: “That you would be meeting with the leader of Syria who could feasibly be responsible for the killings of over half a million people, who ordered the chemical attacks on children in his own country?”

GABBARD: “I will never apologize for doing all that I can to prevent more of my brothers and sisters in uniform from being sent into harm’s way to fight another regime change war, the likes of which we have seen in Iraq and Libya and Syria, that have taken so many of our service members’ lives, that has taken so many of our taxpayer dollars out of the pockets of people in this country, people who are suffering, people in places like Detroit, like Flint, Michigan, communities across this country, to speak of the suffering that’s been caused. So if that means meeting with a dictator, meeting with an adversary in order to accomplish that mission of keeping the American people safe, making sure our troops are not continuing to be sent on these wasteful wars putting their lives at risk and making sure we’ve got the resources for the American people, I will do what is necessary. And frankly, that’s the kind of commander-in-chief we need that truly has the courage, just as we’ve seen in our country’s past how President Kennedy met with Khrushchev. How Roosevelt not only met with Stalin, a murderous dictator — “

VOSSOUGHIAN: “So you don’t see, though, the parallels then — “

GABBARD: “ — “Excuse me, sorry, let me finish. Who met not only with Stalin, who killed millions of people but actually allied with him. Why? Because it was in the best interest of our country and the American people to bring about an end to that war. So, no, if it means meeting with dictators, if it means working with people who — “

VOSSOUGHIAN: “So why meeting with people like Stalin or meeting with Bashar al-Assad, but not necessarily meeting with the leader of Saudi Arabia or supporting, or having a relationship with them?”

GABBARD: “Sure. You’re making — you’re mixing two different things up. I’m talking about having a meeting — “

VOSSOUGHIAN: “I don’t think I’m mixing two different things up. I’m just trying to get clarity on it because there seems to be some inconsistencies in your views of it.”

GABBARD: “There’s no inconsistency whatsoever. Having a meeting for the pursuit of our national security and peace is one thing. I would meet with the leader of Saudi Arabia, with leaders of Iran, with leaders of North Korea in that pursuit of national security, keeping the American people safe. The difference between that and what Donald Trump has done and continues to do is he has cozied up, allied with, and supported Saudi Arabia in their support of Al-Qaeda and in support of this genocidal war in Yemen that continues to this day, an illegal war that Congress has not authorized, that’s killed thousands of innocent Yemeni people and that’s caused millions more to suffer.”

VOSSOUGHIAN: “I hear you on this. I hear you on this. I want to go with this for a moment. So when sitting down with someone like Bashar al-Assad in Syria, do you confront him directly and say why do you order chemical attacks on your own people, why do you cause the killings of over half a million people in your country?”

GABBARD: “Look, I want to break this down to — “

VOSSOUGHIAN: “It’s really a yes-or-no answer.”

GABBARD: “I want to break down what we’re talking about here today because you’re talking about a meeting that took place, what, three years ago.”

VOSSOUGHIAN: “Congresswoman — you’re leading with foreign policy.”

GABBARD: “It sounds like — these are talking points that Kamala Harris and her campaign are feeding you because she’s refusing to address the questions — “

VOSSOUGHIAN: “Congresswoman, it’s important, I think, for the American people to have context about your foreign policy issues and where you stand. If you’re leading with foreign policy — “

GABBARD: “I would love to provide that context.”

VOSSOUGHIAN: “A meeting with Bashar al-Assad, which I’m sure you understand, is a very controversial meeting to take. Hence the reason why when you come on MSNBC, it is important for us to talk to you about it, and of course every anchor has a different perspective and different questions to ask of you.”

GABBARD: “Every single time for three years? This is where the propaganda comes in because I’ve talked about this a lot for the last three years and I’ve talked about how as a soldier I served in a field medical unit in Iraq where every single day I saw the very high human cost of war, every single day the first thing that I did was go through a list, name by name, of every single American casualty and injury that had occurred the day before. So I will not apologize to you or to anyone — “

VOSSOUGHIAN: “Nobody is asking you to — “

GABBARD: “Let me finish.”


GABBARD: “For doing all that I can — all that I can to prevent our country from continuing to make these perpetual wrong decisions that have taken a toll on the lives of my brothers and sisters in uniform. I will continue to do all that I can to make sure that we end these wasteful regime change wars that have taken such a toll on all of us and that have made our country less safe. And if that means having a meeting with a dictator, if that means trying to meet with Kim Jong-un in North Korea to de-escalate tensions and remove this nuclear threat from our country and our people, whatever the crisis is, we’ve got to have a leader with the courage to do the right thing for the American people, putting their interests ahead of everything else. That is what I’m focused on.”

VOSSOUGHIAN: “And, Congresswoman, nobody is — “

GABBARD: “And that is at the center of my foreign policy and the leadership that I’ll bring as president.”

VOSSOUGHIAN: “I certainly am not asking you to apologize for your service. I am very thankful for your service. And I don’t think anybody is asking you to apologize for your service. This is more a conversation, asking you questions to explain the decisions that you’ve made in the past and the statements that you’ve made in the past with regards to your foreign policy views as you are running for president of the United States. Congresswoman, I thank you for you time.”

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