Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) casts consistently progressive votes on a wide range of issues, garnering her endorsements from groups like the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Our Revolution.
But Gabbard's foreign policy positions are another thing entirely.
An avowed anti-interventionist, Gabbard met with Bashar al-Assad in 2017, long after the Syrian dictator had been accused of launching chemical weapons attacks against his own people—former President Barack Obama's red line.
Gabbard has questioned whether the Assad regime had been responsible for the attack.
“If President Assad is found to be responsible after an independent investigation for these horrific chemical weapons attacks, I’ll be the first one to denounce him, to call him a war criminal and to call for his prosecution in the International Criminal Court,” she said in April 2017. International groups have definitely concluded that Assad was responsible for the chemical attack.
Gabbard has coasted to victory since 2012, when she was first elected. But as the Intercept reported Friday, Gabbard refuses to debate her primary challengers. Is it because she's worried about being called out on her foreign policy views?
“Her voting record and her international policy would certainly crack her front-facing persona, and I know that she doesn’t want that to happen,” one of her challengers told the Intercept.
Ironically, Gabbard herself has criticized lawmakers who are scared of debate.
“It’s very dangerous when we have people in positions of leadership who use their power to try to quiet those who disagree with them,” Gabbard said at the time. “When I signed up to be vice chair of the DNC, no one told me I would be relinquishing my freedom of speech and checking it at the door.”