Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) slammed CNN and the New York Times during Tuesday evening’s debate, which the two outlets co-hosted, accusing both of smearing her by attributing her call for an end to the “regime-change war” in Syria to a nefarious allegiance to Russia.
“The New York Times and CNN have also smeared veterans like myself for calling to an end to this regime-change war,” Gabbard told the crowd in Ohio.
“Just two days ago, the New York Times put out an article saying I am a Russian asset and an Assad apologist and all these different smears,” the Hawaii Democrat continued. “This morning a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia. Completely despicable.”
A Times article published October 12 accused Gabbard of “defending the brutal Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad.” Hours before the debate, a CNN analyst called the senator a “puppet for the Russian government.”
Gabbard also blamed President Trump for ordering the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, a move that has garnered bipartisan criticism.
“The slaughter of the Kurds being done by Turkey is yet another negative consequence of the regime-change war that we’ve been waging in Syria,” Gabbard said. “Donald Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hand — but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime-change war in Syria that started in 2011, along with many in the mainstream media, who have been championing and cheerleading this regime-change war.”
Gabbard added that she would end “regime-change” wars in the region by ceasing “draconian sanctions,” which she called a “modern-day siege.”
Trump announced earlier this month that the U.S. will pull back troops currently stationed in the northern part of Syria, saying he does not want the U.S. to “police” the area any longer. However, he vowed to punish Turkey if the country takes any action the U.S. considers “off limits.”
Bipartisan critics of the move warned that a U.S. troop withdrawal would make room for expected Turkish invasion of the region and would leave the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who have been supported by U.S troops in fighting the Islamic State, open to attack.
The Kurds “are fighting a force that intends to eliminate their people because we green lighted their operation,” a senior U.S. defense official said.