Tulsi Gabbard, the congresswoman from Hawaii is a war veteran on an anti-war crusade, but her biggest impact in Wednesday’s debate was a takedown of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.
Gabbard, who in 2017 met secretly with a suspected war criminal, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, skewered Harris over her criminal justice record as California's attorney general. Harris later shot back with an accusation that Gabbard white washes Assad’s war crimes - a topic Gabbard had difficulty addressing in a post-debate CNN interview.
"There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations then laughed about it when asked if she ever smoked marijuana," Gabbard said.
Gabbard told top-tier candidate Harris she should apologize to those whose lives were affected. "When you were in a position to make an impact and influence on these people's lives, you did not," she said.
Harris eventually retaliated with a post-debate interview where slammed Gabbard’s lower polling numbers and called her an “apologist” for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Gabbard about Harris’s post-debate attack. Gabbard responded, “I think It’s unfortunate and a disservice to voters in this country that she resorts to cheap smears rather than actually addressing her record, the issues that I have raised.”
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“I have seen the cost of war firsthand,” Gabbard continued. “I will never apologize for doing all I can to prevent more of my brothers and sisters from being sent into harm’s way to fight counter-productive regime-change wars that make our country less safe and take lives and cost taxpayers trillions more dollars. So if that means meeting with a dictator or meeting with an adversary, absolutely I would do it.”
“Do you consider him a torturer and murder?” Cooper pushed.
“That’s not what this is about,” Gabbard said. “I don’t defend or apologize or have anything to do with what he has done to his own people.”