2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, made it clear that she is running to defeat President Trump, disputing a claim from former White House adviser Steve Bannon that she once interviewed to be part of Trump’s administration, while also continuing to push back against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment.
Gabbard appeared on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” immediately following Bannon, who claimed that Gabbard was in talks years ago for an administration job.
“First of all, I was not there to interview for a job; I was there to discuss my foreign policy views,” Gabbard stated. She then made a point to distance herself from Trump after Bannon said that Gabbard was “the type of person as a nation we want serving in the Cabinet” due to shared foreign policy principles.
“I want to be very clear, I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump,” she said. Gabbard joined nearly every House Democrat Thursday in voting in favor of a resolution supporting the Trump impeachment inquiry.
In addition to opposing Trump, Gabbard has been battling her own party, claiming that they have been working against her in her Democratic primary race. She vowed to change how the party is run if given the opportunity.
“What I plan to do as the Democratic nominee and as president is to rebuild a new Democratic Party,” she said. “One that truly represents the interest of the people of this country that is fighting for them, fighting for their well-being, fighting for the well-being of our country and protecting our national resources on this planet.”
Gabbard accused the Democratic National Committee of not having voters’ interest in mind by “implementing their own pre-primary election before voters get a chance to vote.”
Despite this opposition to party brass, Gabbard refuted the implication made by Hillary Clinton that she was planning a third-party run if she fails in her bid for the Democratic nomination.
“I will not run as a third-party candidate,” Gabbard said.
Clinton’s claim did not name Gabbard, but it was part of a conversation where she alleged that Republicans were grooming a Democrat currently in the field to make a third-party run, and also saying that this same candidate was “the favorite of the Russians.” When asked if this was a reference to Gabbard, Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill told CNN, “If the nesting doll fits..."
Gabbard has since launched a counterattack against Clinton, which continued Sunday.
“What we have seen in what she and her proxies and minions have been putting out in trying to smear my character, reputation and undermine my campaign is really not just a message for me, but a message to all Americans,” she said, “that if you dissent, if you disagree, if you speak truth to power and challenge the establishment view, especially as it relates to foreign policy, then you, too, will be smeared and attacked.”
Gabbard, an Army veteran who joined the military after the 9/11 attacks, said the claims against her were “completely baseless” and “offensive” given her service to the country.
“I will never be able to undo what they have done in trying to cast suspicion amongst the American people about where my loyalties actually lie,” she said.
As for why she believes the Clinton camp is targeting her, Gabbard has her suspicion.
“They know they cannot control me, and that worries them very much.”