Tulsi Gabbard: Dems Criticizing Trump Nominating Too Many Generals 'Discriminating Against Veterans'

December 8, 2016

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) said Thursday evening on CNN that congressional Democrats who are criticizing President-elect Donald Trump for nominating too many generals to his Cabinet are "discriminating against veterans."

Gabbard defended Trump's nominations despite some congressional Democrats expressing skepticism over the president-elect picking three generals to work at top-level positions in his administration.

Some Democrats have argued that nominating too many generals could threaten the idea of civilian control over the military.

CNN host Jake Tapper asked Gabbard for her thoughts on Trump's transition process and America's standing around the world.

"I know that some of your colleagues, Democrats, have expressed concern about too many retired generals being in the Trump Cabinet," Tapper said. "Do you share their concerns or disagree?"

Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq War and member of the House Armed Services Committee, chided Democrats for attacking Trump over selecting retired generals to his Cabinet.

"I don't share their concerns. As a veteran and as someone still serving in the Hawaii National Guard, I found it pretty offensive for people to outright discriminate against veterans," Gabbard said.

"You have generals who have literally spent their whole lives serving our country, putting service before self, putting their lives on the line to defend democracy. Yet people are criticizing them and discriminating against them," Gabbard added.

Trump has nominated retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to serve as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and retired Gen. James Mattis to serve as secretary of defense, both of whom were four-star generals. He has also chosen retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn as his national security adviser.

"These people, arguably, have put far more on the line and are far more deeply personally committed to upholding and protecting our democracy than their critics," Gabbard said of the generals Trump has nominated.

While in Congress, Gabbard has criticized the Obama administration for its foreign policy, especially the president's strategy in Syria and how he has gone about fighting the Islamic State.

During the Democratic primary, Gabbard resigned her position as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee so she could openly support Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in his bid for the Democratic nomination.