Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) fired back on Friday after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to suggest that the Democratic presidential candidate is a “Russian asset” who is being “groom[ed]” to run as a third-party candidate.
“Great! Thank you [Hillary Clinton],” Gabbard responded to Clinton. “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,” she continued. “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.”
… 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 …
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
The Hawaii congresswoman’s remarks come only two days after Clinton sat down with President Barack Obama’s former campaign manager, David Plouffe, during an appearance on his podcast “Campaign HQ.”
“I think they have got their eye on someone who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She is the favorite of the Russians,” Clinton said. “They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”
“That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset — I mean, totally,” she added. “They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate. So I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed.”
While the former first lady refrained from naming the “Democratic primary” candidate to whom she was initially referring, Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill later confirmed that it was, in fact, Gabbard.
“If the nesting doll fits,” Merrill replied when asked directly about the congresswoman.
Gabbard revealed in August that she will not run for president on a third party ticket if she fails to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. However, she challenged the twice-failed presidential candidate to jump into the 2020 race for a third time.
“It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me,” Gabbard said to Clinton. “Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”
Clinton famously lost the 2016 presidential election against President Donald Trump in a stunning upset. Even following her failed bid, she has been an outspoken critic of the president and his administration, and has repeatedly and publicly mulled over running for the Democratic nomination in the upcoming election cycle.
“Maybe there does need to be a rematch,” Clinton said earlier in the month. “Obviously, I can beat him again.”
While Trump won the Electoral College and ultimately the presidency, Clinton seized the popular vote. She has subsequently listed dozens of reasons for her loss, but maintains that she should have won and would win in a re-match against the president.
As of publication, Gabbard sits at 1.2% support among Democratic primary voters, according to the RealClearPolitics national polling average.