President Donald Trump took to Twitter Saturday night to defend Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) against Hillary Clinton’s claims that Gabbard is a “Russian asset” designed to upend the 2020 presidential election.
“So now Crooked Hillary is at it again!” Trump tweeted. “She is calling Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard ‘a Russian favorite,’ and Jill Stein ‘a Russian asset.’ As you may have heard, I was called a big Russia lover also (actually, I do like Russian people. I like all people!). Hillary’s gone Crazy!”
It’s no surprise Trump weighed in on the ongoing tiff between the Hawaii Congresswoman and the former Democratic presidential nominee after spending months embroiled in controversy over his own alleged ties to the Kremlin. Clinton, after all, made it known that she suspected Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, had a hand in her 2016 loss to Trump just days after the results of the Presidential election became final.
Trump then spent the first two years of his tenure under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, only to be cleared of suspicion, along with his 2016 presidential campaign, by Mueller’s report, released earlier this year. Democrats who were once convinced that Trump would face impeachment over his campaign’s ties to Russian officials have no moved on to a separate controversy involving a supposed quid-pro-quo with Ukrainian officials over information about Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son.
Trump also ran to the rescue of former Green Party candidate Jill Stein, whose presence in the 2016 presidential election likely cost Clinton votes.
Late last week, Clinton told a podcast, hosted by President Obama’s former top aide, David Plouffe, that she wasn’t “making any predictions [about the 2020 Democratic nomination], but [Russians] have got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.”
Clinton was referring specifically to Gabbard, she acknowleged later, doubling down. “She’s the favorite of the Russians” Clinton continued, adding that the Russians have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”
Gabbard has fired back several times since then, calling Clinton a “queen of warmongers” and an “embodiment of corruption.” On Saturday, Gabbard told reporters that, “This smear campaign is coming from people like Hillary Clinton and her proxies, the foreign policy establishment, the military industrial complex, who obviously feel threatened by my message and by my campaign because they know that they can’t control me,” according to Fox News.
Trump is one of only a handful of high-profile politicos to rush to Gabbard’s defense. Gabbard’s fellow contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination have been largely silent. Among her competitors, only Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, and Beto O’Rourke have said anything.
Yang tweeted that Gabbard “deserved much more respect and thanks.” Williamson added that “The Democratic establishment has got to stop smearing women it finds inconvenient!” O’Rourke told reporters Saturday that, “Tulsi is not being groomed by anyone. She is her own person. Obviously has served this country, continues to serve this country in uniform, in Congress, as a candidate for presidency so I think those facts speak for themselves.”
Clinton hasn’t spoken further on her smear, instead pulling out of a planned event where she would have shared the stage with Gabbard. Gabbard, on the other hand, has only benefitted from her spat with the 2016 Democratic nominee.
The Detroit News reports that Gabbard has skyrocketed to fame in Iowa, where voters can now identify her by name and know details of her background.