And then one blinked.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has gone head to head with Hillary Clinton for nearly a week. Clinton, the 2016 loser, claims Gabbard, a U.S. military veteran, is a “Russian asset” being groomed to ensure that President Donald Trump is re-elected. Gabbard has fired back, saying Hillary is the “queen of warmongers” and daring her to enter the 2020 race.
Now, Clinton has pulled out of an event in Washington, D.C., in which Gabbard was also set to appear. Clinton has backed out of a Friday appearance at Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit, claiming she had a scheduling conflict, Slate.com reported.
Clinton’s sudden exit came just hours after she said Gabbard was a “favorite of the Russians.”
The two-time loser sat down with David Plouffe, President Barack Obama’s campaign manager in 2008, on his “Campaign HQ” podcast on Friday. On the show, she said Gabbard is currently being prepped Russia to run as a third-party candidate in 2020 in order to help Trump win.
“They are also going to do third party again,” Clinton said. “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third party candidate,” Clinton said, reportedly referring to Gabbard.
Plouffe asked Clinton about past third-party candidates like Jill Stein of the Green Party, who election analysts say helped Trump win a couple key states. Clinton returned to the mysterious candidate.
“She is a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and ways of supporting her so far. That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she is also a Russian asset,” Clinton said. “They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate, and so I do not know who it is going to be but I can guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it.”
The New York Times is also claiming Gabbard is a Russian asset.
“She is injecting a bit of chaos into her own party’s primary race, threatening to boycott that debate to protest what she sees as a ‘rigging’ of the 2020 election. That’s left some Democrats wondering what, exactly, she is up to in the race, while others worry about supportive signs from online bot activity and the Russian news media,” The Times wrote Oct. 12.
For her part, Gabbard said it’s all fantasy.
“The New York Times and CNN have also smeared veterans like myself for calling for an end to this regime change war [in Syria]. … Just two days ago, The New York Times put out an article saying that I’m a Russian asset and an Assad apologist, and all these different smears,” she said Tuesday in the Democratic debate.
Gabbard also fired back at Clinton on Twitter. “Thank you @HillaryClinton,” she posted on Friday. “You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.
“From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a … concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and … powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.”
Then Gabbard delivered a direct challenge to Clinton. “It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”
“Hillary Clinton is labeling me as a foreign agent and a traitor, smearing and undermining my campaign, both directly herself and indirectly through her proxies,” Gabbard said in a Friday night interview with CBS News.
“The reason why she’s doing this is because she knows that she can’t control me. She knows that she’s not going to be able to manipulate me if I’m elected president to be able to continue these warmongering policies that she has championed,” Gabbard said.