Gabbard to MSNBC Host: Stop Using Kamala Harris 'Talking Points'

Congresswoman defends meeting with Assad

August 1, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) told MSNBC host Yasmin Vossoughian to stop using Sen. Kamala Harris's "talking points" against her during a Thursday interview on MSNBC Live.

The heated exchange between the two women came the day after Gabbard laid into Harris during the second Democratic primary debate in Detroit. Gabbard accused Harris of hypocrisy on drug enforcement during her career as California's attorney general.

Vossoughian pressed Gabbard on pro-Syria foreign policy stance, asking her if as president she would be willing to confront dictator Bashar Al Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people and referencing a trip the congresswoman took to Syria as well as past favorable remarks about Assad.

"Look, I want to break this down," Gabbard began.

"It's really a yes-or-no answer," Vossoughian said.

"No, no really, I want to break down what we're talking about here today," Gabbard continued. "You're talking about a meeting that took place, what, three years ago."

"Congresswoman, you're leading with foreign policy," Vossoughian broke in.

"Every time I come back here on MSNBC, you guys talk to me about these issues," Gabbard said. "It sounds like these are talking points that Kamala Harris and her campaign are feeding you because she's refusing to address the questions that were posed to her."

Vossoughian replied that the network is not biased toward the Harris campaign, saying that she thinks "it's important, I think, for the American people to have context about your foreign policy issues and where you stand."

"A meeting with Bashar Al Assad, which I'm sure you understand is a very controversial meeting to take," Vossoughian said. "Hence the reason why when you come on MSNBC, it is important for us to talk to you about it, and of course every anchor has a different perspective and different questions to ask of you."

"Every single time for three years?" Gabbard replied. "This is where the propaganda comes in," she said, adding that she will not apologize "for doing all that I can to prevent our country from continuing to make these perpetual wrong decisions that have taken a toll on the lives of my brothers and sisters in uniform."

Gabbard met with Assad in 2016 during a "fact-finding" mission to Syria. The congresswoman did not notify top House Democrats before taking the meeting.

"When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so, because I felt it's important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace," Gabbard told CNN's Jake Tapper in 2017. "And that’s exactly what we talked about."