Trump says he respects Gabbard for voting 'present' on impeachment

President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE praised Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe perfect Democratic running mate for DeSantis? Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition MORE (D-Hawaii) after the 2020 White House hopeful broke with House Democrats to vote “present” on both articles of impeachment brought against him.

While delivering remarks in Florida on Saturday, Trump took aim at former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonI voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary Meghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' MORE for comments she made about Gabbard.

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“Then she said Tulsi Gabbard is a weapon of Russia,” Trump said. “And they lost all credibility because you know that Tulsi Gabbard — and I give her respect. She didn’t vote the other day. I give her a lot of respect, because she knew it was wrong. But I don’t know, but I know one thing. She is not an agent of Russia.”

Trump appeared to be referring to an October interview in which Clinton appeared to suggest that Gabbard was a “favorite of the Russians” to win next year’s presidential election. 

In the interview, Clinton said that the GOP had their “eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” appearing to refer to Gabbard. 

“She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her, so far,” Clinton also said in the interview.

Gabbard continues to face heat for breaking with House Democrats in votes on impeachment articles charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In a statement defending the unexpected move, Gabbard said she was "standing in the center" with her vote.

“I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing,” Gabbard continued.

She has introduced a measure censuring Trump instead.