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Lots of people are talking about the utterly batshit interview congresswoman and 2020 Democratic "candidate" Tulsi Gabbard gave on "Morning Joe" today. It covered a lot of subjects, but what people are really noticing is how Gabbard just flat refused to call Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who genocides his own people, an enemy of the United States. She wouldn't even call Assad an "adversary." And she wouldn't admit Assad gassed his own people. And she wouldn't admit that Russia really seems to like her for the Democratic nomination. (It does!)

Kasie Hunt started the questioning, because she was just curious about that time Gabbard met with Assad, and how much Gabbard really supports him, which is kind of a common question. Gabbard traveled to see him in 2017, and weirdly, she came back trumpeting the very same propaganda about the Syrian civil war Assad has been propagating. (And who is Assad's ally in that fight? Putin!)



HUNT: Do you think Assad is our enemy?

GABBARD: Assad is not the enemy of the United States because Syria does not pose a direct threat to the United States.

Well, he poses a direct threat to our allies in the region, so there's that.

Hunt asked Gabbard what she would say to people in the military who are fighting against ISIS and Assad's forces, and Gabbard sidestepped the question, saying the military has its mission, which is not regime change in Syria. And that's a valid point! But then it got weird again, when Joe Scarborough took over the questioning:

SCARBOROUGH: Assad is not an enemy. Is he an adversary of the United States?

GABBARD: We have to look to who poses a threat to the United States ...

SCARBOROUGH: No no, I understand that, but there are a lot of people who don't pose a direct military threat to the United States, who consider themselves to be adversaries of the United States. Vladimir Putin ... considers America to be an enemy. We consider Russia to be an adversary. I'm just asking, do you consider Assad to be an adversary of the United States?

Gabbard responded by not answering. Now it was Mika Brzezinski's turn! And she got ... the same non-answer.

BRZEZINSKI: So what would you say he is to the United States, if you cannot say that he is an adversary or an enemy, what is Assad to the US? What is the word?

GABBARD: You can describe it however you want to describe it.

BRZEZINSKI: I want to know how you describe it.

Nope. All Gabbard would say is that she looks at all world leaders and considers whether their interests are in line with our interests. So Kasie Hunt tried again!

HUNT: Are Assad's interests aligned with ours?

GABBARD: What are Assad's interests?

Um, Tulsi Gabbard, FYI, but Kasie Hunt asked you. Also she made this face at you:

Hunt answered anyway:

HUNT: Assad seems interested, primarily, in the slaughter of his own people ...

And Scarborough noted that he uses weapons of mass destruction, and Brzezinski added, "He's an adversary. It's not that hard."

Willie Geist asked Gabbard to confirm or deny, does she think Assad actually used chemical weapons on his own people? (He did.)

GABBARD: I certainly think it's possible.

But, you know, she's skeptical. It could have been Assad, it could have been China, it could have been a 400-pound hacker on his bed in New Jersey ...

TULSI GABBARD, WHAT IS YOU DOIN'?

The interview went strange one more time, when, after Gabbard confirmed that Vladimir Putin is an adversary of the United States, and confirmed that she agrees with our intel community's assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election and will continue to do so in the future, Kasie Hunt asked her if she agrees with reporting that shows that Russia is meddling right now ... to help Tulsi Gabbard. UH OH!

GABBARD: Cite those reports and their credibility.

HUNT: Well, the Russian propaganda machine -- we did an analysis actually at NBC News ...

GABBARD: I want to point out that NBC article has been debunked and disproven.

HUNT: By whom?

Oh yes. Gabbard called NBC's sources "so-called experts," and attacked NBC News for "bullying" people, by doing FAKE NEWS about Russia propagandizing on her behalf. The interview was soon over.

To be clear, NBC's analysis shows that "the main English-language news sites employed by Russia in its 2016 election meddling shows Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii ... has become a favorite of the sites Moscow used when it interfered in 2016." And that's not all:

Since Gabbard announced her intention to run on Jan. 11, there have been at least 20 Gabbard stories on three major Moscow-based English-language websites affiliated with or supportive of the Russian government: RT, the Russian-owned TV outlet; Sputnik News, a radio outlet; and Russia Insider, a blog that experts say closely follows the Kremlin line. The CIA has called RT and Sputnik part of "Russia's state-run propaganda machine."

And their coverage has been breathtakingly positive, especially of the foreign policy positions Gabbard holds that are the same as the Kremlin's positions. NBC shares a sample headline: "Heroic Tulsi Gabbard Will Run on Her Sensible Foreign Policy. Expect Democrats, Faux Progressives to Squeal."

Oh, and guess who "debunked" the NBC News article? No less than RT, formerly known as Russia Today, currently known as essentially a state-run mouthpiece of the Putin regime. Oh, also Glenn Greenwald, who just loves Tulsi Gabbard, and who never ever ever EVER would let somebody say something mean about Russia without challenging it loudly on the internet with fighty words.

(SIDE NOTE: Have you guys seen Glenn Greenwald go on Tucker Carlson's white supremacist shouty show one million times in the past several months, to defend Tulsi Gabbard? Greenwald is totally cool with how Gabbard used to be majorly anti-gay, because she says that was wrong of her, and she's sorry. Pardon us, but as a gay person who possesses self-love, we like Democratic presidential candidates who didn't use phrases like "homosexual extremists" as recently as 2004, and who said in 2016 that her "personal" views are still anti-gay, and that she votes to support LGBT people now because she really hates the Muslims. And no, both-sides-ers -- PAGING GLENN -- that is not the same as a Democrat who used to be personally against marriage equality and then "evolved," but never led pitchfork brigades against the LGBT community. Anyway, our point in bringing up Greenwald going on Tucker to defend Tulsi Gabbard is to note that everything you've heard about the Horseshoe Theory is fuckin' TRUE, man.)

Hey, at least Gabbard was willing to disavow David Duke's endorsement of her on today's "Morning Joe." (Yeah, that happened. And honest to God, we have zero reason to doubt her condemnations of Duke. Or her condemnations of Nazi Richard Spencer, who's also totally into her for some reason. Probably economic anxiety. Anyway, the "alt-right" just really fuckin' loves Tulsi Gabbard, is our point.)

This is far from the first time shit has gotten weird with Tulsi Gabbard. Indeed, we've been meaning to write some sort of WTF TULSI GABBARD post ever since she announced she was "running" for president. (In related personal news: Wonkette is running for "King of France." Wish us luck!) But something about the weird-ass "Morning Joe" interview, on top of the really stupid drama over how NBC News is bad because it's reporting regular non-biased information about how Russia has decided it's all in for Gabbard, made us want to finally do it today.

So we did!

We don't know what's going to happen in the Democratic primary, and there really aren't candidates we're ruling out. But this Tulsi Gabbard character? Boy, I don't know.

Anyway, have an OPEN THREAD.

Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE, DO IT RIGHT HERE!

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

Follow him on Twitter RIGHT HERE.

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