Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI) recommended a “face-to-face” conversation with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following an online squabble between the two over Clinton’s accusation that Gabbard was working for Russia.
The story: During a podcast discussion with former Obama adviser David Plouffe, Clinton accused Gabbard of being “groomed” by the Russians to be a “third-party candidate” but did not refer to the Hawaii congresswoman by name. Gabbard, however, is the only female Democratic White House candidate to be accused of being a Russian asset.
“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. “She’s the favorite of the Russians.”
Gabbard, however, contended Monday that she will not run as a third-party candidate and will vote for the Democrats’ eventual nominee, according to Fox News.
Gabbard, a military veteran, initially ripped into Clinton’s allegations, calling the former secretary of state the “personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.”
On Monday, Gabbard told reporters at an Iowa coffee shop: “Well, she had something to say about me, and I would have been very happy to have that conversation directly face-to-face with her.”
This comes after Clinton withdrew from a scheduled appearance at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, where Gabbard is one of the speakers. The supposed reason for Clinton’s withdrawal was due to scheduling issues.
Reactions: Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) defended Gabbard on Monday, saying:
“Tulsi Gabbard has put her life on the line to defend this country,” Sanders tweeted, referring to Gabbard’s overseas deployments. “People can disagree on issues, but it is outrageous for anyone to suggest that Tulsi is a foreign asset.”
Tulsi Gabbard has put her life on the line to defend this country. People can disagree on issues, but it is outrageous for anyone to suggest that Tulsi is a foreign asset.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) October 21, 2019
Sanders is the fourth Democratic candidate to defend the Hawaii congresswoman after Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, and Beto O’Rourke.
When asked to respond to Sanders’ statement, Gabbard plainly said: “Thank you for speaking the truth.”
President Trump also weighed in on the Gabbard-Clinton dispute Monday, appearing to be sympathetic to Gabbard’s situation as he has himself been accused of working for the Russians by Clinton.
“I said, wait a minute, it took me two-and-a-half years, I wish [Clinton] would have said that earlier because people… have realized she is crazy. She’s crazy,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“She’s accusing everyone of being a Russian agent,” the president told reporters, referring to Clinton. “She’s not a Russian agent. These people are sick. There’s something wrong with them.”