Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard released an official video response to Hillary Clinton’s smear calling her a Russian asset on Sunday, saying she believes it was done because she did not support Clinton in the 2016 election.
"People warned me in 2016 that my endorsement of Bernie Sanders would be the end of my 'political career,'" Gabbard said in the video. "They said, 'Clinton will never forget,' that she and her rich and powerful friends, her allies in politics and the media will make sure that you are destroyed."
Gabbard spoke of her lifetime of service—in the Army National Guard, where she still serves as Major, to being in Congress for almost seven years.
"If they can falsely portray me as a traitor, then they can do it to anyone—and in fact, that's exactly the message they want to get across to you,” she continued. "If you stand up to Hillary and the party power brokers—if you stand up to the rich and powerful elite and the war machine, they will destroy you and discredit your message. But, here is the truth: They will not intimidate us. They will not silence us."
Hillary & her gang of rich, powerful elite are going after me to send a msg to YOU: “Shut up, toe the line, or be destroyed.” But we, the people, will NOT be silenced. Join me in taking our Democratic Party back & leading a govt of, by & for the people! https://t.co/TOcAOPrxye pic.twitter.com/TahfE2XOek— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 20, 2019
Gabbard addressed the “completely despicable” accusations against her at last week’s Democratic debate, calling out CNN and The New York Times for saying she’s a “Russian asset and an Assad apologist.”
Clinton then advanced the conspiracy in a podcast with former Obama adviser David Plouffe, arguing that an unnamed female Democratic candidate for president was being groomed to become a third-party candidate.
"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. She's the favorite of the Russians," Hillary Clinton to @davidplouffe https://t.co/DKH7BLTWs8— Ken Thomas (@KThomasDC) October 18, 2019
"She's the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and - that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she is also a Russian asset — yeah, she's a Russian asset! I mean totally!" Clinton said, referring to Gabbard.
A top aide to Clinton then doubled down.
"If the nesting doll fits," Nick Merrill told a CNN reporter. "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."
Gabbard's video was not the only time since Clinton's latest comments that she has responded. The presidential candidate tweeted a biting response on Friday and has made media appearances denouncing the smears as well.
Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. 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. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a ...— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
... powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.