Published: October 11, 2019
Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tulsi Gabbard2020 Presidential Candidates The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — House Dems subpoena Giuliani associates Gabbard says she may boycott next week's debate MORE (D-Hawaii) on Friday ripped President Trump Donald John TrumpDemocratic 2020 hopefuls tout LGBTQ plans at town hall Trump defends Syria move at rally: 'Bring our troops back home' Pompeo adviser resigning: report MORE over his decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria and turn operations over to Turkey.
Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, told Hill.TV said that even though she supported Trump’s initial decision in December 2018 to move troops from the region, she said he has failed to do so in a responsible way.
“All that he has done is remove them from the northern border of Syria — really laying out a red-carpet, a green light for [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and Turkey to launch an ethnic cleansing and offensive against the Kurds,” Gabbard told Hill.TV.
“Because of Trump’s failure to end the regime change war in Syria — the Kurds are now paying the price,” she added.
The Hawaii Democrat previously criticized Trump and other Republicans over the move in a series on tweets on Tuesday.
“The hypocrisy of war-mongers like Nikki Haley Nimrata (Nikki) HaleyTrump defends Turkey in wake of fierce GOP criticism Overnight Defense: Republicans urge Trump to reverse course on Syria | Dems subpoena Pentagon in impeachment probe | North Korea talks falter Five things to know about Trump's decision on Syria, Turkey and the Kurds MORE, Senator Graham & others who have demanded that we continue our regime change war in Syria, who are now crying crocodile tears for the Kurds, is nauseating,” she tweeted.
Gabbard's latest comments came after Turkey this week launched a military offensive against U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces in northern Syria following a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the area.
The Syrian Democratic Forces have long been U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS, and Trump's move to relocate U.S. troops in advance of Turkey's attack prompted lawmakers in both parties to accuse Trump of betraying American allies.
Several of the Trump’s most vocal allies, including Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), pushed back against the pullout, saying it could be the “biggest mistake” of Trump’s presidency.
But Trump stood by his decision to move the troops, arguing that the U.S. could “take a victory.”
"We don't have any soldiers there because we left, we won, we left, take a victory United States," Trump said at a campaign rally on Thursday. "Bring our troops back home."
Since launching her presidential bid, Gabbard has faced renewed scrutiny on her own relationship with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In 2017, the Hawaii congressman faced backlash after revealing that she met with the Syrian leader, who has also been accused of human rights abuses against his own people.
In response to criticism from her opponents, including Sen. Kamala Harris Kamala Devi HarrisDemocratic 2020 hopefuls tout LGBTQ plans at town hall CNN's Chris Cuomo apologizes after response to Kamala Harris at LGBTQ town hall 2020 Presidential Candidates MORE (D-Calif.), Gabbard has since sought to distance herself from Assad, describing him as a “brutal dictator.”
"He's a brutal dictator. Just like Saddam Hussein. Just like Gadhafi in Libya," Gabbard told CNN's Chris Cuomo Christopher (Chris) Charles CuomoCNN's Chris Cuomo apologizes after response to Kamala Harris at LGBTQ town hall Fox rejects Biden request to not run Trump campaign ad CNN refuses to run Biden-Ukraine ad by Trump campaign MORE following her breakout performance in the August debate.
—Tess Bonn source