Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) explained her decision to sue 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying in a statement Thursday that “Hillary Clinton and her allies want you to know that if you dare to cross them, they will destroy your reputation as well.”
Gabbard, who sued Clinton for defamation on Wednesday after the former secretary of state suggested she was a “Russian asset” in October, stated that her lawsuit was on the behalf of other “patriotic Americans.”
“If Hillary Clinton and her allies can successfully destroy my reputation — even though I’m a war veteran and a sitting member of Congress — then they can do it to anybody,” Gabbard said. “I will not allow this blatant effort to intimidate me and other patriotic Americans into silence go unchallenged.”
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) January 23, 2020
Gabbard’s comments mirror the language of the lawsuit, which levels that Clinton attempted to launch a smear campaign against the Hawaii congresswoman.
“With this action, Tulsi seeks to hold Clinton, and the political elites who enable her, accountable for distorting the truth in the middle of a critical Presidential election,” the complaint states.
Clinton sparked the controversy when she called Gabbard “the favorite of the Russians” on a podcast and suggested she was being groomed for a third-party run, despite Gabbard’s having publicly denied such intentions.
After the comments picked up steam, Gabbard responded by defending herself, telling The View in November that “you and other people continue to spread these innuendos that have nothing to do with who I am.” Gabbard’s lawyers also demanded a retraction from Clinton herself in the aftermath of the criticism.