Tulsi Gabbard confronts Joy Behar over 'useful idiot' label, Hillary's 'Russian asset' claim

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, got into a testy exchange with "View" co-host Joy Behar on Wednesday as the 2020 candidate confronted Behar over her claim that she was a "useful idiot" for the Russians.

"Some of you have accused me of being a traitor to my country, a Russian asset, a trojan horse, or a useful idiot I think was the term that you used," Gabbard told Behar.

"Well, useful," Behar said, apparently trying to excuse her description. "But that's a Russian term, they use that," she added.

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After Gabbard defended herself, Behar cited compliments of Gabbard that she saw as objectionable.

"Franklin Graham finds you refreshing. He doesn't find me refreshing. Richard Spencer, the white nationalist leader, says he could vote for you," she said.

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Gabbard laughed and responded: "This is why I'm here -- because you and other people continue to spread these innuendos that have nothing to do with who I am."

She went on to accuse Behar of doubling down on "baseless accusations" that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appeared to make about Gabbard. Clinton previously claimed that Gabbard was being "groomed" by the Russians to be a third-party candidate and was an "asset" of the Kremlin.

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"I'm a soldier -- because of the attacks on 9/11," Gabbard said. "I enlisted in the military to go after and defeat and destroy the evil that visited us on that day. I've served now for over 16 years. I deployed twice to the Middle East during the height of the war where every single day I saw firsthand the terribly high human cost. It's why I ran for Congress."

Gabbard, on Wednesday, rejected the idea that she would run as a third-party candidate.