Trump Defends Tulsi Gabbard From Criticism: 'She's Not A Russian Agent'
President Donald Trump took the rare step of defending a Democratic presidential candidate this week, saying Tulsi Gabbard is not “a Russian agent” after Hillary Clinton suggested Hawaii congresswoman is favored by the country.
According to ABC News, Clinton said during a recent podcast interview, "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,” adding that she is "the favorite of the Russians."
She did not mention Gabbard outright, but of the female candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, Gabbard appears to fit the bill.
The congresswoman responded on Twitter, saying to Clinton, “You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.”
On Sunday, Trump seized the opportunity to launch a fresh strike against his 2016 rival, tweeting: "So now Crooked Hillary is at it again! She is calling Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard 'a Russian favorite,' and Jill Stein 'a Russian asset. As you may have heard, I was called a big Russia lover also (actually, I do like Russian people. I like all people!). Hillary's gone Crazy!"
Trump defended Gabbard again on Monday during his Cabinet meeting, saying, "She's not a Russian agent."
"These people are sick. There's something wrong with them," he added. "She's accusing everyone of being a Russian agent."
Asked Clinton was referring to Gabbard with her remarks, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told CNN last week: "If the nesting doll fits. This is not some outlandish claim. This is reality. If the Russian propaganda machine, both their state media and their bot and troll operations, is backing a candidate aligned with their interests, that is just a reality, it is not speculation."
Over the weekend, Gabbard said she cannot control whether or how much Russian state media mentions her name and adamantly denied she is a Russian asset.
"I don't control them. I don't control what anyone else says or does. All I can do is focus on the message that I am bringing to this campaign -- the message that I am delivering to voters in this country," she told reporters on Sunday.