Gabbard pushes back on Assad criticisms: ‘We heard attacks from warmongers' before

Gabbard pushes back on Assad criticisms: ‘We heard attacks from warmongers' before
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardDNC punts on measure to reduce role of corporate PAC money NBC, CNN to host first two Democratic presidential primary debates Exclusive: Biden almost certain to enter 2020 race MORE on Wednesday pushed back on criticism over her comments regarding Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

The Hawaii congresswoman, a staunch opponent of military interventions, took a shot at "warmongers in politics/media" and accused critics of trying to "smear" her after she discussed her views on Assad during an interview on MSNBC earlier in the day.

“We heard attacks from warmongers in politics/media before. Those opposed to Iraq/Libya/Syria regime change wars are called ‘dicatator-lovers’ or ‘cozy’ with evil regimes. Rather than defend their position, they resort to name-calling & smears. American people [won’t] fall for this,” Gabbard tweeted.

Gabbard has faced bipartisan criticism since 2017 after she met with Assad, who much of the international community say is to blame for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria’s civil war. 

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She defended herself last month after announcing her White House bid, saying it's important “to be willing to meet with others, whether they be friends or adversaries.”

“It continues to be very important for any leader in this country to be willing to meet with others, whether they be friends or adversaries or potential adversaries, if we are serious about the pursuit of peace and securing our country,” she said on CNN.

Gabbard's views on Assad were brought back into the spotlight Wednesday morning after she said she did not consider him to be an enemy of the United States.

"Assad is not the enemy of the United States because Syria does not pose a direct threat to the United States," she said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." 

When asked if Assad is an adversary of the U.S., Gabbard replied, “You can describe it however you want to describe it.” 

Gabbard is among an early group of candidates to join what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary field next year.

Several other Democratic lawmakers including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDNC punts on measure to reduce role of corporate PAC money Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 Newsom endorses Kamala Harris for president MORE (Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate Sanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 MORE (Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Sanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Newsom endorses Kamala Harris for president MORE (N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 Dems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters MORE (N.J.) have already said they’re running or signaled they intend to join the race.