Gabbard: I wanted to convey 'Aloha' to the Syrian people

Gabbard: I wanted to convey 'Aloha' to the Syrian people
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardHarris's stepkids call her 'Momala' Chicago mayor race mirrors national push for more women in office, says columnist Biden leads CNN poll, but Harris, Sanders on the rise MORE (D-Hawaii) on Thursday said that she visited Syria to "convey the love, the care and the 'Aloha'" to the Syrian people.

"I've been very worried and have carried with a heavy heart what has been happening there," Gabbard said in an interview with MSNBC's Greta Van Susteren.

"The suffering of the Syrian people, and I wanted to go there for myself, to see if I could in some small way convey the love, the care and the 'Aloha' of the people of Hawaii, the people of our country, to the Syrian people," she added.

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On Wednesday, the lawmaker acknowledged that she met with Syrian President Bashar Assad during her secret visit to the war-ridden country.
Gabbard, however, told MSNBC that her meeting with the Syrian leader was not initially on the schedule.
 
"First of all, this wasn't the reason for my trip, wasn't even in the initial plan. But when the opportunity presented itself, I felt that it was important to have the meeting. Because if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, if we truly care about ending their suffering, we've got to be able to be willing to meet with whoever we need to," she said.
 
The lawmaker has been strong opponent of Washington's "counterproductive regime-change" in Syria, and has urged U.S. to end its support of some rebel groups in the country in the fight against ISIS.
 
"I've been long calling now, for years to end our country's counterproductive regime-change war in Syria. Not only is it not helping end the suffering of the Syrian people, but it's actually working against the interests of the Unites States," she said.