Say what you want about Tulsi Gabbard, but she has huge cojones.
The Hawaii congresswoman took to Twitter last night to send her critics—most notably, Hillary Clinton—a message: They will not get rid of her. Although she did not explicitly mention Clinton by name, it is clear to whom the Democratic presidential candidate directed her tweet.
"They're doing everything they can to get me to run as a 3rd-party candidate so they can retain control of our Party. But I wont," Gabbard said last night.
Gabbard's tweet was another in a long series of responses aimed at Clinton, after the former first lady and failed 2016 nominee suggested in an interview last month that Russian intelligence operatives might be "grooming" the 38 year-old congresswoman and Army National Guard member to run as a spoiler campaign as an independent, presumably to boost President Donald Trump's candidacy.
Clinton Backed Down
Clinton was heavily mocked for the comments she made on former Obama White House advisor David Axelrod's podcast alleging Gabbard could be secretly backed by the Kremlin. She later attempted to retract the statement through various proxies.
As MarketWatch reported on October 24:
The New York Times ran this correction Wednesday night: "An earlier version of this article described incorrectly an element of Hillary Clinton's recent comments about Representative Tulsi Gabbard. While Mrs. Clinton said that a Democratic presidential candidate was 'the favorite of the Russians,' and an aide later confirmed the reference was to Ms. Gabbard, Mrs. Clinton's remark about the 'grooming' of a third-party candidate in the 2020 race was in response to a question about the Republicans' strategy, not about Russian intervention."
Tulsi Destroyed Her
To put it mildly, Gabbard put Clinton in her place—and then some. On October 22, the Hawaiian congresswoman issued a video calling Clinton's foreign policy "a disaster for our country and the world, resulting in the deaths and injuries of so many of my brothers and sisters in uniform, devastating entire countries, millions of lives lost, refugee crises," she said. Adding, "Yet, despite the damage you have done to our country and the world, you want to continue your failed policies directly or indirectly through the Democratic nominee."
Several pundits have said Clinton's attack backfired and boosted Gabbard's candidacy. As author and former Republican Tom Nichols argued:
Clinton's mistake was to raise Gabbard's profile, and then to throw around the term Russian asset. (...) Think of being a Russian asset as something in between cluelessness and conspiracy. But without further evidence, all Clinton managed to do was prepare the ground for Gabbard to dismiss all future accusations or revelations as just more grandstanding from a defeated and bitter 2016 nominee.
Indeed, as Alexandra Desanctis noted in National Review last week, a new national poll by Suffolk/USA Today shows Gabbard leading Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) by one percentage point.
Perhaps Harris should also want Hillary Clinton to attack her?