Beto O’Rourke defend Tulsi Gabbard when asked about Hillary Clinton’s claim that Russia is “grooming” the Hawaii congresswoman to be a third-party spoiler candidate.
“That’s not correct. Tulsi is not being groomed by anyone,” the former Texas congressman said on Saturday about his competitor for the Democratic presidential nomination. “She’s her own person, obviously has served this country and continues to serve this country in uniform, in Congress, as a candidate for the presidency. And so, I think those facts speak for themselves.”
.@BetoORourke on @TulsiGabbard: “Tulsi is not being groomed by anyone. She is her own person. Obviously has served this country, continues to serve this country in uniform, in Congress, as a candidate for presidency so I think those facts speak for themselves.” pic.twitter.com/dKnOVExx3H
— The Hill (@thehill) October 19, 2019
Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state, indirectly mentioned Gabbard in a podcast released on Friday when discussing challenges that the 2020 nominee could face.
“They are also going to do third party again,” Clinton, 71, 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. She is a favorite of the Russians. 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 is also a Russian asset.”
Gabbard responded to Clinton’s assertion on Friday in a fiery series of tweets.
“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,” Gabbard said. “It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”
Democratic presidential hopefuls Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur, and Marianne Williamson, a spiritual author, have also voiced support for Gabbard.
“Tulsi Gabbard deserves much more respect and thanks than this. She literally just got back from serving our country abroad,” Yang tweeted Friday. Gabbard, currently a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, took a two-week break from her campaign for training in Indonesia.
“The Democratic establishment has got to stop smearing women it finds inconvenient! The character assassination of women who don’t toe the party line will backfire. Stay strong @TulsiGabbard . You deserve respect and you have mine,” Williamson tweeted early Saturday morning.
Other Democratic presidential hopefuls have avoided taking sides in the controversy between Gabbard and Clinton or expressed skepticism about the candidate.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” California Sen. Kamala Harris said with a laugh on Friday. “There’s nothing else to say.”
“I have a lot of respect for Secretary Clinton and I’ll just leave it at that,” former Housing Secretary Julián Castro said on Friday.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker on Friday tweeted a GIF of himself from a previous Democratic presidential debate round giving a wide-eyed skeptical look in response to Gabbard’s tweets.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 18, 2019
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