Long before the Internet, Sydney Harris wrote a newspaper column called, “Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things.” It was a great read because the items were always wide-ranging and surprising. This writer had a similar experience while trying to find Tulsi Gabbard’s response to Israel’s recent banning of two female US Representatives. So we googled, simply, “Gabbard Israel.” What came up was, indeed, surprising.
We did find an article that suggested that Gabbard was totally mum on the woes of Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Otherwise, many of the articles were about the fact that Gabbard is the darling of white supremacists. What?
Newsweek notes that Gabbard has been endorsed by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.
Duke, who was head of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s, posted a set of tweets endorsing Gabbard’s 2020 presidential run and changed the background of his Twitter account Monday, which boasts more than 50,000 followers. [featuring] A “Tulsi Gabbard for President” banner . . .Duke also endorsed Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.
According to the Washington Examiner when she appeared on ABC’s The View, Gabbard was asked directly about Duke’s endorsement. Gabbard pivoted to other endorsements she has received and stated that Duke shouldn’t be given any further air time.
The New York Post discusses Duke but notes that Gabbard denounced him.
In November 2016, Duke tweeted that Gabbard was a representative of a “political realignment” he hoped to see in the US — and called for Donald Trump to appoint her secretary of state. . .
“I have strongly denounced David Duke’s hateful views and his so-called ‘support’ multiple times in the past, and reject his support,” she told The Post in a statement Tuesday.
But it’s not just Duke. Some white supremacists are actually claiming that they got her into the Democratic debates by pushing her over the donor threshold:
some of America’s most prominent white nationalists have taken credit for her improved fortunes.
The neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer took credit in April for Gabbard reaching the 65,000 donor threshold to qualify for the debates, Jewish Insider reported. The website said they supported the anti-war candidate to “make the Jews go nuts.”. . .
Gabbard’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Jewish Insider about what they knew about The Daily Stormer’s donation efforts and whether they planned to return any donations.
Gabbard is not the only candidate to have had to distance themselves from white nationalist supporters.
Regarding foreign policy, there was the meeting with Assad, as noted by the Israeli publication, Haaretz.
The most unique – and controversial – step Gabbard has taken when it comes to the Middle East was her January 2017 trip to Syria, during which she met with President Bashar Assad, who has emerged victorious from the country’s devastating civil war. Gabbard didn’t inform her party’s congressional leadership about the meeting with Assad, which she claimed was part of an attempt to “bring peace” to Syria. She was harshly criticized by politicians from both parties for taking the meeting.
The Jewish News Service made the same connection.
Serving in Congress since 2013, Gabbard’s record on Israel is, at best, mixed, though she has known to defend Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both associated with using chemical weapons on the Syrian people, and for aligning themselves with Iran and its proxies, such as the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hezbollah.
Haaretz also writes about Gabbard’s connections to rightwing and GOP leaders.
In 2015, she spoke at a conference of Christians United for Israel – an organization whose leader and founder, Pastor John Hagee. . . an outspoken supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump. . .
In 2016, Gabbard received an award from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a New Jersey-based rabbi with close ties to casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson (the largest donor to the Republican Party). . . A picture from the 2016 gala dinner, which Boteach uploaded to his Twitter account, shows him and Gabbard together with Miriam Adelson, the Israeli-born wife of Sheldon Adelson and a partner to his political donations to many GOP politicians. . .
A year later, Gabbard’s primary challenger in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, Shay Chan Hodges, attacked Gabbard for supporting a bill against online gambling that Adelson and other casino operators were promoting. In an article headlined “Who Does Tulsi Gabbard Represent?” Hodges asked: “Why is Tulsi Gabbard so friendly with a Republican billionaire?”
The Spectator argues that Gabbard gets a pass because she’s physically attractive.
Sneering centrists might put Gabbard’s appeal on the Right down to a very simple fact: she’s a looker. That’s not lost on anyone. ‘Big ratings,’ a former senior Trump administration official noted to me earlier this year, remarking on the fact that CNN devoted a whole Sunday show to a candidate outside the top tier in her party.
But The Spectator also wonders why she doesn’t become a Republican, pointing out that Donald Trump considered her for his administration.
it’s Gabbard: a Democrat, but one whose foreign policy is actually in tune with the base of President Donald J. Trump, not President George W. Bush. Indeed, Gabbard appeared more open to the president-elect’s advances than most Democrats in late 2016. Some Trump advisers wanted her in the cabinet, perhaps in the commanding heights. . .
Team Gabbard will doubtless be displeased with the headline of this article, as their candidate pursues the nomination – for president of the United States – of the party opposite. But her row with Google is just the latest example of common interest with the Right. . .
So let’s invert the question: how does Gabbard not become a Republican? Should she seek a future in politics, she’s effectively locked out of the House Speaker’s race, scorned by her party’s leadership. Should she run for Hawaii governor and be exiled in Honolulu? What Democratic president would have her in their administration? She dissents on the need to pummel Russia.
For Gabbard, a right turn might be the only way forward.