Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) defended President Donald Trump’s decision to fire two brothers at the National Security Council (NSC) and an ambassador on Friday in an interview on Fox News.
Late on Friday, news broke that the Trump administration removed Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and attorney Yevgeny Vindman from the NSC, and also recalled U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
“You know, the president yesterday, as you probably know, Congresswoman, fired Gordon Sondland, our Ambassador to Ukraine, and Alexander Vindman, top security official,” host Neil Cavuto said. “A lot of people were likening it to another, you know, Friday night massacre akin to what Richard Nixon did back in the ‘70s. Do you agree with that?”
“Ultimately, whether people like or not, there are consequences to elections,” Gabbard responded. “And the president has, within his purview, to make the decisions about who he’d like serving in his cabinet.”
At an earlier point in the interview, Gabbard took aim at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg when asked what she thought about the DNC making the rules easier for Bloomberg to qualify for the debates.
“It’s wrong. It’s wrong,” Gabbard responded. “The fact that a billionaire can come in and have that kind of influence to change the rules of the DNC all of a sudden, not coincidently, to be able to benefit Michael Bloomberg while voters here in New Hampshire and across the country are saying, hey, we want to be able to make the best informed decision possible before we go in and cast our vote, understanding the seriousness of this election.”
“But they’re not able to do so so long as both the DNC and some of the corporate media partners are enacting these rules where they are playing favorites,” Gabbard responded. “They are picking winners and losers before voters have the opportunity to do so.”
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: So poking around the state here, we’re seeing a lot of the candidates show up at various rallies and events, including Joe Biden who is busy crisscrossing the state as well. A lot of the candidates will be doing that, including my next guest, the Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who joins us right now in the flesh.
Good to see you.
REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to see you. Thanks for having me.
CAVUTO: You saw this debate over what happened in Iowa.
CAVUTO: A lot of people think even Tom Perez, the head of the Democratic National Committee, he should go. What do you think?
GABBARD: I think first, they should actually solve some of the problems. I think the more we learn about all of the things that went wrong really are a disservice to the voters in Iowa who went and they spent their time to let their voices be heard. And yet, their voices have not been heard in a resounding and very clear way.
I would think that, whether it’s the Iowa caucus chair working in concert with the DNC chair, they would proactively, themselves, want to go and make sure that those results are accurately counted to best serve the residents of Iowa.
CAVUTO: You know — as you know, Iowa holds a unique position as the first in the nation contest. Do you think it should have that four years from now?
GABBARD: That’s up to the states to decide. The states determine when they hold their primary elections. What I’ve been advocating for now for years are some very key reforms to our Democratic primaries. I think they should be open primaries.
I think they should allow same-day registration so you don’t have people in New York, for example, who if they didn’t register, I don’t know, something like five months before election day, they can’t go and vote. And I think we need to get rid of superdelegates.
Once again, this is continuing to be an issue of concern to voters here in New Hampshire who are worried about their vote actually being counted and how they don’t want it to be overruled by a small group of individuals who can come in and say, you know what, I don’t — I don’t think you guys know what you’re doing. We’re going to come in and decide —
CAVUTO: Well, you know they’re talking that way again —
GABBARD: — this election —
CAVUTO: — Congresswoman, right?
GABBARD: That’s the concern —
CAVUTO: I mean, since the emergence of Bernie Sanders as a possible nominee, they’re revisiting this rule in place now —
CAVUTO: — that superdelegates can’t vote on the first ballot. If they do that — change that, what do you think?
GABBARD: Well, the issue is — you know, I think, moving it back from the first ballot to the second ballot was a very small step in the right direction. But I want to be clear, we’ve got to get rid of superdelegates all together. And that change was not anywhere near enough, once again, to make sure that we as Democrats are standing by the decision that voters make on who our Democratic nominee should be.
CAVUTO: And you like the idea of an open primary where this way — you know, not just anyone in any party — any stream (ph) would be able to vote. If that were the math, I mean, you would poll a lot better because Conservatives are drawn to you, Independents are drawn to you. But in some of these rules, you’re kind of between a rock and a hard place.
GABBARD: Well, this is bigger than — this is not about me or my campaign. This is something I’ve been calling for for years, since the 2016 primary elections where I saw and I heard and met with people who are Democrat, who are Independents — who are here in New Hampshire — who are undeclared and who want to make sure that their voice is heard. We need to make it as easy and as accessible as possible for people to go in and participate in our democracy.
CAVUTO: How do you feel — and let’s say, you weren’t able to participate in the debate last night and yet they recently made rules in the party to all but grease the skids for Michael Bloomberg being able to debate. What do you think of that?
GABBARD: It’s wrong. It’s wrong. The fact that a billionaire can come in and have that kind of influence to change the rules of the DNC all of a sudden, not coincidently, to be able to benefit Michael Bloomberg while voters here in New Hampshire and across the country are saying, hey, we want to be able to make the best informed decision possible before we go in and cast our vote, understanding the seriousness of this election. But they’re not able to do so so long as both the DNC and some of the corporate media partners are enacting these rules where they are playing favorites. They are picking winners and losers before voters have the opportunity to do so.
CAVUTO: Do you think you’re just the odd-woman-out in this environment, though, that going after Hillary Clinton, now suing Hillary Clinton out, for saying you’re an agent of the Russians and all that — challenging the way they go about establishing a nominee and the process they use, that it’s an uphill battle for you —
GABBARD: Of course.
CAVUTO: — that you’re going against the tide —
GABBARD: We’re — I think it’s how you determine what the tide is. If you’re looking at the powerful elite in Washington, absolutely. I and so many people across the country are challenging the powerful elite who have shown they are not working for the best interests of the people.
So we’re calling for the truth, we’re calling for a straight-forward process for voters to make sure that their voices are heard in this democracy and so that we can actually have a government that’s of, by, and for the people — not of, by, and for the powerful elite in Washington.
CAVUTO: All right. You’re up against, you know, a fundraising disadvantage. I was noticing, Congresswoman, in this state Tom Steyer has already spent north of $15.5 billion if you include New Hampshire and surrounding media markets.
CAVUTO: Michael Bloomberg, who essentially is getting — you know, not focusing on this state. He’s spent $6.2 million, Bernie Sanders $3.7 million, Mayor Pete, at recently $1.4 million. You are at about $390,000.
GABBARD: We are at a disadvantage. I’ll take the opportunity now to ask your viewers if you’d like to contribute to my campaign — go to tulsi2020.com because we really are — I’m focused on really delivering my message directly to voters here in New Hampshire and across the country, understand what —
CAVUTO: Could you accept any of those other candidates, though — if any one of them became the nominee, could you support them?
GABBARD: I’m focused — I’m focused on — on winning.
CAVUTO: No, I’m sure you are but —
GABBARD: And here’s why — and here’s why —
CAVUTO: You don’t join the camp that says a socialist in Bernie Sanders is the nominee is political suicide?
GABBARD: No, I don’t. I don’t believe that.
GABBARD: What I believe and what I hear from voters here is that they want a new generation of leadership. But they also want someone who has experience — experience to walk in on day one prepared to lead and to serve as Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces and experience to be able to work with Congress to be — to actually be able to get things done, to solve problems.
And what I bring to the table is experience in both of those areas, having served at the federal, state, and local levels of government, serving in Congress now for seven, going on eight, years, and having served in the military for 17 years and deploying twice to the Middle East, able to bring people together, heal these divides in our country where while we can agree to disagree on certain issues, even strongly, we stand together motivated by this love for our country and an understanding that when we stand and work side-by-side as Americans, we can accomplish anything.
CAVUTO: You know, the president yesterday, as you probably know, Congresswoman, fired Gordon Sondland, our Ambassador to Ukraine, and Alexander Vindman, top security official. A lot of people were likening it to another, you know, Friday night massacre akin to what Richard Nixon did back in the ‘70s. Do you agree with that?
GABBARD: Look, I disagree with so many of Trump’s decisions, especially as it relates to foreign policy. I’ve been very outspoken in that area. Ultimately, whether people like or not, there are consequences to elections. And the president has, within his purview, to make the decisions about who he’d like serving in his cabinet.
CAVUTO: All right. Congresswoman, thank you very much.
GABBARD: Thank you very much.
CAVUTO: And you have a long day —
GABBARD: Good to see you, Neil.
CAVUTO: — days of campaigning —
GABBARD: Yes, we do. Seventy-two hours.
CAVUTO: All right. Tulsi Gabbard, thank you very, very much.