US Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is being accused of “flip-flopping” on her Syria stance and “caving” to mainstream media pressure after a combative interview on The View.
Questioned aggressively by panelist Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Senator John McCain, Gabbard said there was “no disputing the fact” that Syrian President Bashar Assad is a “brutal dictator” who “used chemical weapons against his people.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says "there's no disputing the fact" that Bashar Al-Assad is a "brutal dictator" who "has used chemical weapons" against his people, but adds that amid the US's "regime-change war," the "lives of the Syrian people have not been improved" https://t.co/Y6QetT9YO3 pic.twitter.com/5p3fWKtncW
— The View (@TheView) February 20, 2019
The comments stand in stark contrast to previous statements made by the Hawaii congresswoman, who in the past said she was “skeptical” about allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on citizens and called US efforts to overthrow Assad an “illegal war.”
She faced a major backlash from both the media and her colleagues in congress for taking a trip to Syria and meeting Assad himself in 2017.
So very disappointed. Thought she was different. Turns out she’s exactly the same. Hey @TulsiGabbard ask yourself this, since you caved in to the neocon regime change line, why are all these people coming back home to the country of the “brutal dictator” https://t.co/Ynhfn8UUHD
— T. A. (@zanesfather) February 21, 2019
In all the videos that I saw of her trip to Syria the people she interviewed told her the truth, they never blamed the Syrian government or Assad. She is purposely lying to appease her critics, like a coward.
— Sarah Abed (@sarahabed84) February 21, 2019
While Gabbard tried to offer a balanced view of the situation in Syria, it was the antagonistic questioning from McCain that immediately grabbed headlines, with many framing the interviewer in a heroic light for “confronting” Gabbard, the “Assad apologist.”
During the interview, Gabbard also said that US military interventions are often “begun and waged from a place of humanitarianism” despite having previously taken a tougher stance on “military adventurism” and the reasons behind it.
Gabbard did push back many times against the panel of hostile hosts, saying repeatedly that US interventions have historically made bad situations worse and increased suffering, some of her supporters accused her of folding in the face of “bullying” from McCain.
You've really folded under pressure @TulsiGabbard. You know for a FACT that #Assad isn't a brutal dictator and that he never used chemical weapons against his people. You even went to Syria.Yet you're willing to lie just to please a bullying McCain of all people. What a shame. https://t.co/zGK7YjaOJ9
— Sarah Abed (@sarahabed84) February 21, 2019
The way of all candidates? @TulsiGabbard flip-flops on #Syria, acquiescing under pressure to repeat the fake mantra, "Bashar al Assad is a brutal dictator who has used chemical weapons". Shame Tulsi, shame. https://t.co/XkFVjdoJpn
— tim anderson (@timand2037) February 21, 2019
Others acknowledged that Gabbard might have been trying to appease the panelists to get her wider point about the human costs of US interventions across, but argued that she risked alienating the people who already supported her in the process — and said that if she starts making concessions now, she will be forced to make more.
#TulsiGabbard making the classic mistake – she think's making a concession to the mainstream narrative on #Syria will help. It won't help at all. The forces she is trying to appease will not be appeased, but she will alienate those that approve of her telling the truth. https://t.co/hpqcQ5wKnK
— OffGuardian (@OffGuardian0) February 21, 2019
.@TulsiGabbard blundered badly making this concession. McCain's argument should have been dismissed easily. Having made this concession, she will now be forced to make further concessions. "Since, as you admit, Assad is evil, should the US simply allow him to commit evil acts…" https://t.co/QW92gtFpme
— George Szamuely (@GeorgeSzamuely) February 21, 2019
When the conversation turned to Venezuela, Gabbard angered the panel again, saying that the US trying to choose the leader of that country was “not something that serves the interests of the Venezuelan people,” despite co-host Ana Navarro’s hailing Donald Trump for “leading the solidarity and support of freedom-loving Venezuelans.”
Tulsi Gabbard went on the View and basically said like hey maybe we shouldn't randomly topple the Venezuelan govt and the Syrian govt and the reaction from the hosts is like she came out for cannibalism lmao
— Secular Talk (@KyleKulinski) February 21, 2019