Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) repeatedly refused to condemn anti-Semitic Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) during a CNN presidential town hall on Sunday, wherein she multiple controversial remarks.
“I just want to ask you a follow-up question on this very topic, because you voted this past week to condemn anti-Semitism and other forms of hate,” CNN’s Dana Bash said at the town hall in Austin, Texas. “And this vote, of course, came after your fellow Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar suggested that support for Israel in Congress is, quote, ‘all about the Benjamins’ and criticized lawmakers just this past week for supporting Israel as potentially having, quote, ‘allegiance to a foreign country.’ What do you think about these statements? And do you think this is anti-Semitic?”
“Well, let’s look at the bigger issue here. The bigger issue is — there’s a couple, actually — of making sure that as members of Congress and as people in this country, we can have open dialogue about our foreign policy,” Gabbard replied. “You know, as there are criticisms levied about dual loyalty, again, as I mentioned in the last question, I’ve been on the receiving end of those types of attacks, so I can understand how offensive they can be, where just because I am a Hindu, people assume that therefore I must be loyal to some other interest or some other place.”
“But what about these specific statements?” Bash responded. “You’re talking broadly. These specific statements, were they anti-Semitic?”
“There are people who have expressed their offense at these statements,” Gabbard responded. “I think that what Congresswoman Omar was trying to get at was a deeper issue related to our foreign policy, and I think there’s an important discussion that we have to be able to have openly, even though we may end up disagreeing at the end of it, but we’ve got to be able to have that openness to have the conversation.”
“But you’re not willing to go as far as saying it’s anti-Semitic?” Bash asked.
“What I’m saying is, is what she was trying to bring up was something that was a deeper issue,” Gabbard responded. “And I don’t believe that her intent was to cause any offense to anyone.”
Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard refused to call Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks anti-Semitic when asked. pic.twitter.com/dgfrI2H5Th
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 11, 2019
Gabbard later refused to state if she would accept intelligence findings from U.S. intelligence agencies, and she also refused to state if she agrees that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal.
Gabbard came under fire in late 2017 after it was revealed that she met with Assad after the U.S. dubbed him a war criminal for gassing his own people.
“Do you remain skeptical as you were in 2017 that Bashar al-Assad used chemical warfare against Syrian civilians?” Bash asked.
“I want to correct that, because there has been some misunderstanding,” Gabbard responded. “There have been reports showing that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, both by the Syrian government as well as different terrorist groups on the ground in Syria.”
“The skepticism and the questions that I raised were very specific around incidents that the Trump Administration was trying to use as an excuse to launch a U.S. military attack in Syria,” Gabbard continued. “Now, I served in a war in Iraq, a war that was launched based on lies and a war that was launched without evidence.”
“And so the American people were duped,” Gabbard continued. “So as a soldier, as an American, as a member of Congress, it is my duty and my responsibility to exercise skepticism any time anyone tries to send our servicemembers into harm’s way or use our military to go in and start a new war.”
“You met Bashar al-Assad in 2017,” Bash said. “Do you believe that Assad is a war criminal?”
“I think that the evidence needs to be gathered and, as I have said before, if there is evidence that he has committed war crimes, he should be prosecuted as such,” Gabbard responded.
Democrat Tulsi Gabbard refuses to state that she would accept intelligence findings from U.S. intel agencies
Gabbard refuses to state that Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal despite multiple government agencies stating that he gassed his own people pic.twitter.com/W9dCsZMEh2
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 11, 2019
Later on, Gabbard begged people to stop calling the Democrats’ socialist agenda “socialist,” saying that it was dividing the party and causing division.
“Right now, the Democratic legacy is being warped and repositioned as a socialist agenda,” a questioner in the audience said. “So, Congresswoman, my question for you is as follows. How will you counter this perception? Because as they say in marketing, perception is reality. And in doing so, restore the Democratic ideals to their original truths.”
“Yeah, it’s an important question,” Gabbard responded. “And we do this by not falling into this trap of labels that is being set and focusing first and foremost on the people.”
“So you can — and people use all kinds of labels to name this or to name that,” Gabbard continued. “And if you pay attention, you’ll notice the only reason they’re using those labels is to try to pit one group of us against the other, is to try to tear one part of our country away from the other, to divide us as a nation. This goes against the very principles that our founders had for us as a United States of America.”
“Congresswoman, I understand what you’re saying about labels, but that’s how we define and understand where people come from ideologically and philosophically,” Bash asked. “So what about capitalism? Are you a capitalist?”
“See, here’s the thing with all these labels and, as you said, how they’re used to define people and where they’re coming from,” Gabbard responded. “But as you see, so many of these labels are misused, misunderstood to the point where people don’t have any idea what they even mean anymore.
“How would you define yourself?” Bash pressed. “So you’re not a capitalist?”
“I’m an independent-minded person, I’m a Democrat, and my sole focus and purpose is to figure out how we can best serve the people of this country,” Gabbard said.
Democrat Tulsi Gabbard says that people shouldn’t label Democrats’ socialist agenda as “socialist” because it’s dividing the Democratic Party and refuses to say if she believes in capitalism pic.twitter.com/ySscg5qosJ
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 11, 2019