Preface: One of the biggest challenges that democracy is facing right now is that those who aim to dismantle it are reaching audiences of millions while those who aim to protect it are not. My work has reached around 10,000 viewers, with some of those likely being repeat viewers. And many others who do this work are facing similar circumstances. As long as these huge imbalances persist, the enemies of democracy will continue to be successful in dividing us. Only by exposing their tactics can their work be undone. So, if you can, please share this information and the work of those others who are working to protect democracy. It will make a huge difference.
The 2019 version of Tulsi Gabbard is remarkably different from who she was only 5 years ago. The historical record on Tulsi reveals a person who held one set of ideals and beliefs and then changed her position drastically. This transformation was not a gradual one. It happened over a relatively short period of time, according to her public statements.
In 2012, she spoke to CNN prior to her appearance at the DNC. During this conversation, the interviewer gave her a clear opening to take a shot at Obama. Instead of taking a shot, she spoke of how there was already so much divisiveness and she focused on the importance of working together. She repeatedly reiterated her belief in working together in a different interview with CNN here.
In 2013, she engaged in a half-hour interview with Wisdom 2.0.
At around the 9:49 mark, she talks at length about her time in Iraq. She talks of the personal challenges she faced there. She says that it taught her to remember “that every day and moment matters. You know, every relationship matters and placing that importance and care and respect as you’re working with people, as you’re dealing with people, not just going through the motions, was a huge growth and learning experience for me.”
She took that experience and it taught her a completely different lesson than the one she espouses now. In this interview, she discusses her drives and motivations. At no point does she spend a moment on the topics that she focuses so single-mindedly on now.
On a personal note, she seemed truly genuine throughout this interview. Several times, I broke out into a smile as I listened to her jokes and her descriptions of what she was passionate about. What happened to that Tulsi?
She also has a video on her Youtube channel from July 2014, where she calls on the House of Representatives to vote for H.R. 5195. This bill would authorize an additional 1,000 emergency Special Immigrant Visas to Afghani translators who assisted our military. That bill was subsequently signed into law. During this speech, she discussed how her time in Iraq taught her the importance of teamwork, which tied directly into the earlier quote from that Wisdom 2.0 interview.
She appeared on MSNBC in 2014 to discuss foreign policy regarding Ukraine and other countries. During the conversation, she directly and unequivocally blamed Russia for the shooting down of MH17. Unprompted, Tulsi also brought up Russia’s incursion on sovereign Ukrainian land. She made it clear that she was supportive of not only implementing sanctions but also taking additional steps to deter Russia. Those steps included the US providing military aid to Ukraine and a recommendation that we provide training and equipment. She went a step further and recommended we do the same for the Baltic states and others, so that these states can counter Russia with unconventional warfare.
When looking through her Twitter regarding Syria and the Kurds, she repeatedly called for them to armed with heavy weaponry in 2014. Below you’ll find one such tweet from September 2014.
Almost exactly one month later, the US airdropped weapons and medical supplies to the Kurds in Kobani, Syria.
In January 2015, something changed with Tulsi Gabbard. She quickly become a purveyor of the same divisiveness she opposed before. She began making the rounds on cable TV, such as when she appeared on Fox News to criticize the Obama admin over terminology usage. As the world has seen, arguing over terminology has done nothing to combat radical extremism in its many forms. During these many appearances, she engaged in divisiveness for the sake of it.
Later in 2015, she sent out a very enlightening tweet. You might think that I have mistakenly highlighted a Trump tweet. but I can assure you, Gabbard sent it.
Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and must be defeated. Obama won’t bomb them in Syria. Putin did. #neverforget911-tulsi gabbard
This tweet is illustrative of a dramatic shift in the winds. In 2014, she was strongly opposed to Putin and Russia. By late 2015, she was singing Putin’s praises while criticizing Obama. She also went completely silent on Twitter regarding Russia’s ongoing hostilities towards Ukraine. She has not tweeted about Crimea or Ukraine since 2014. She has also never tweeted about the Donbas region, or the Ukrainian Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk. These are areas where Russian-backed forces have been attempting to seize control for several years.
This deafening silence was also a theme with the Kurds. For a period of two years, she did not tweet about them once. However, she tweeted about Syria many times in those two years where she stopped mentioning the Kurds by name. She even started referring to rebel fighters as terrorists. Those rebel fighters included the Kurds.
These are the same people she repeatedly demanded be armed only a couple years prior. On this topic, she had started taking a position that was very much in line with those held by Assad and Russia. This change of heart preceded her secretive meeting with Bashar al-Assad in Syria by at least a year.
Bashar al-Assad is a cruel dictator that has repeatedly gassed his own people and committed various other atrocities to hold onto power. Instead of opposing him, she suddenly began repeating both his and Russia’s opinions.
For instance, in 2015, she sent a tweet (shown below) that alleges that there was a conspiracy perpetuated by the MSM against Russia. This would not be the last time she promoted conspiracy theories in support of Russia’s aims.
She did so again in 2017, when she said that she was skeptical regarding the assessment that the Syrian government deployed chemical weapons. This was the precise position that Russia held. She even went so far as to tweet (then delete) a claim that al-Qaeda or ISIS might have been behind the attack. And when a reporter started questioning some of the debunked conspiracy claims that she listed on her website, the Russian Embassy notably came to her defense.
Since we’re on the topic, here’s her entire tweet history where she discussed Russia or Putin. After 2014, there are no signs she condemned Russia’s actions in Syria, Ukraine, or Venezuela.
Moreover, she declared that America must move on from the investigation into Trump and into Russian interference in our affairs, shortly after Bill Barr released his summary and before anyone outside the FBI and DOJ had seen the full report. This rhetoric is decidedly favorable to Trump and Russia. She also proclaimed that this issue was divisive, yet these words seem hollow. She herself has been a major proponent of division in recent years.
Tusli Gabbard’s website proclaims, “As an Iraq war veteran and a Major in the Army National Guard, Tulsi knows the true cost of war.” Yet her time in the Iraq war does not seem to be the genesis of the opinions she holds now. Many years had already passed since she had seen those costs firsthand. She finished her deployment to Iraq in 2005 and nearly 10 years passed before this new Tulsi emerged.
Sometime after 2014, her position changed from being firmly on the side of America, the Kurds and Ukraine to being on the side of Assad and Putin. While we may never know why that happened, what we do know is that it did happen.
Simply holding a non-interventionist position does not require one to craft conspiracies in favor of Assad and Russia. It does not require one to praise Putin while bashing an American. It does not require one to stir division within our country or within the Democratic Party. But that is precisely what she has been doing, quite deliberately.
The 2014 version of Tulsi Gabbard would have likely been a strong contender in her current bid for the nomination. This new Tulsi doesn’t even make sense from a political perspective. It seems a safe bet that her team has explained this to her frequently. Yet, she has demonstrated a commitment to pursuing this disruptive agenda, regardless of how most Americans have responded to it.
Based on these observations, it does not seem that she’s working to get elected. Why is she running, if not to get elected? Simply put, she needs that platform because it expands the reach of her divisive messaging. As a congressional representative, she’s just one of hundreds. As a candidate, she’s only one of 19 and she regularly gets to appear on debate stages and on TV. This allows her access to a far larger audience on a routine basis.
Studying Tulsi Gabbard’s 2019 agenda has revealed additional vital information. Parts of the 2020 playbook are spelled out in her words and actions. They are echoed by two of her most ardent supporters, namely Aaron Maté and Michael Tracey. I have analyzed the public statements by these individuals and links to those articles will be at the end of this piece. You can also find a link to the playbook there.
Update on 10/18/2019. After Tulsi pushed divisive conspiracy theories about the Democratic Party while also discussing Hillary Clinton over three tweets, Russia Today came to Tulsi’s defense.
And as a final note, just an interesting bit of info to consider. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, maxed out his contributions by donating to Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign. He did this only a day after the first debates. Now, maybe it’s a coincidence that after the second debate, two trends hit Twitter back-to-back, which declared #KamalaHarrisDestroyed and then when that one died, #KamalaDestroyed hit the trending list. These were anti-Kamala and pro-Tulsi messages. And it is also worth mentioning that Twitter is overrun by fraudulent accounts that support Tulsi Gabbard and spread conspiracies, yet Twitter has done nothing about it. Just odd coincidences. That’s all.
Related: MICHAEL TRACEY, THE “PROGRESSIVE”
Related: WHAT’S A MATÉ?