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Meet Bashar al-Assad’s Favorite Congresswoman

As world leaders condemn the Syrian president for gassing his own people, one Hawaiian rep is “skeptical” he was behind it.

Tulsi Gabbard Syria

Last week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed dozens of his own people by dropping a chemical nerve agent known as sarin – a poisonous gas. President Trump responded by launching 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the air base from which the attack originated.

As these events unfolded, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that she was “skeptical” of reports that Assad used chemical weapons against his own people (something he had done previously, in 2013).

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Gabbard if she didn’t believe the President, the secretary of state and Pentagon officials, all of whom came to the same conclusion: that Assad’s regime was responsible. Gabbard mentioned the previous invasion of Iraq, and the intelligence that suggested Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be false. “So, yes, I’m skeptical,” she said.

Gabbard said: “Why should we just blindly follow this escalation of a counterproductive regime-change war?”

The remarks raised eyebrows, not only for their provocative nature but also because Gabbard flew to Syria and met with Assad in January. Gabbard was widely criticized for meeting with, and thereby lending legitimacy to, a brutal dictator. Upon returning from her trip, Gabbard called for an end to any effort to remove Assad.

While Democrats largely sidestepped the Gabbard trip to Syria in January, some are refusing to remain silent on her “skepticism” about Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Center for American Progress President and CEO Neera Tanden tweeted to Gabbard’s constituents: “was it not enough for you that your rep met with a murderous dictator? Will this move you?”

That was followed by a tweet from former DNC chairman and Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT), who echoed Tanden’s tweet: “This is a disgrace. Gabbard should not be in Congress.”

Gabbard has not publicly responded to the Tanden or Dean tweets, but as the crisis in Syria escalates, pressure will build on the Hawaiian to fully defend her relationship with a man willing to kill hundreds of his own people.