At the Democratic debate in Ohio on Tuesday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), both veterans, clashed over the future of Syria policy now that President Donald Trump has unexpectedly withdrawn troops from the region and created chaos.
Buttigieg condemned Trump's policy, saying "When I was deployed I knew one of the things keeping me safe was the flag on my shoulder represented a country that kept its word. You take that away, it takes away what makes America and America and makes the troops and our world a much more dangerous response." Gabbard attacked him, accusing him of wanting to stay in Syria "for an indefinite period of time to continue this regime change war," suggesting that the war was the fault of the United States, and repeated the Russian conspiracy theory that American troops were arming al-Qaeda.
Many commenters on social media reacted with disgust at Gabbard's mischaracterization of Buttigieg's position on national security, her false narrative about how the Syrian war began, and her seeming defense, yet again, of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad:
Tulsi Gabbard’s take on Syria is completely false. US did not start the war in Syria nor did we initiate a regime c… https://t.co/yFjo22SCe7— Clint Watts (@Clint Watts)1571189057.0
So yeah, Tulsi is an Assad regime apologist and a dangerous person.— Josh Marshall (@Josh Marshall)1571188363.0
Tulsi is solidifying that one percent. Can somebody please hit her on Assad? #DemocraticDebate— Charles P. Pierce (@Charles P. Pierce)1571188519.0
That’s not what he is saying and OMG why can she talk?— lil bit Irish (@lil bit Irish)1571188538.0
Tulsi Gabbard blamed everyone except Assad for the loss of life in Syria.— Matthew Dowd (@Matthew Dowd)1571189067.0
Mayor Pete Buttigieg calls out Tulsi Gabbard for not squarely blaming Donald Trump for the bloodshed in Syria. #ct… https://t.co/aiGLCsYlwB— PoliticusUSA (@PoliticusUSA)1571189034.0
It is a fact that the Russian talking point for years has been that the United States arms al-Qaeda in Syria. Tulsi… https://t.co/jQjnyzEkw4— Scott Stedman (@Scott Stedman)1571189193.0
Pete explains why the carnage in Syria is ACTUALLY happening right now, gets cheers. Tulsi says Pete just wants to… https://t.co/wckzQLH2v0— Wonkette (@Wonkette)1571189000.0
Tulsi Gabbard makes me miss Marianne Williamson. LOL #DemDebate— Kelly - 35 days, hang on! | Nationality: Chicago (@Kelly - 35 days, hang on! | Nationality: Chicago)1571189175.0
Say bye-bye to Tulsi Gabbard after tonight. She's against impeachment, against addressing Syria and whines about ho… https://t.co/RxgmwTTDi3— Chris Rogers (@Chris Rogers)1571189075.0