Gabbard Blasts Daily Beast for 'McCarthyist Witch Hunt' After Piece on Pro-Russia Donors

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard / Getty
May 23, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) pounced on The Daily Beast in a fundraising email after the publication highlighted pro-Russia donors supporting her campaign.

Gabbard's campaign labeled its report a "McCarthyist witch hunt," according to Mediaite.

The Daily Beast is really scraping the bottom of the barrel in their attempts to 'get' Tulsi," an email from May 19 read.

"This hit piece is an example of the kind of McCarthyist witch hunt made possible by the mainstream media’s role in fomenting the new Cold War with Russia. It stirs up hysteria that makes it easier to push our country into war. It paints patriotic Americans as foreign agents and so-called 'apologists' for foreign leaders. And it pushes us to sacrifice our hard won civil liberties at the altar of war," the email added.

A few days later, her campaign hammered "the mainstream media soap opera hysteria" for spreading the piece.

Gabbard called the report "fake news" during an appearance on ABC's This Week on Sunday.

The Daily Beast article said Gabbard's campaign "is being underwritten by some of the nation’s leading Russophiles."

"Donors to her campaign in the first quarter of the year included: Stephen F. Cohen, a Russian studies professor at New York University and prominent Kremlin sympathizer; Sharon Tennison, a vocal Putin supporter who nonetheless found herself detained by Russian authorities in 2016; and an employee of the Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT, who appears to have donated under the alias 'Goofy Grapes,'" the article says.

Gabbard has previously criticized the media in fundraising emails. In February, her campaign hit "media giants ruled by corporate interests who are in the pocket of the establishment war machine," and suggested journalism was being used against her campaign in a manner akin to 1950s-era McCarthyism.

At the time, Gabbard was upset with an NBC report alleging Russia was trying to help the congresswoman's campaign.

Gabbard has faced pushback for her foreign policy views, including her defense of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, with a Washington Post op-ed calling her the dictator's "mouthpiece in Washington." Russian President Vladimir Putin is among Assad's top backers.

Left-wing publications such as the Nation and Jacobin have criticized Gabbard. The Daily Kos hit Gabbard for meeting with Assad and developing ties with Hindu nationalists in a piece which endorsed her Democratic primary opponent in her congressional race.