Pete Buttigieg Slams Tulsi Gabbard: ‘I Wouldn’t Sit Down With Assad, A Murderous Dictator’

Pete Buttigieg got the last word during a spat with Tulsi Gabbard on the Democratic debate stage, deriding the Hawaii Rep. for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Pete Buttigieg Tulsi Gabbard
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The move of the night at the fifth Democratic debate was attacking Tulsi Gabbard, the controversial congresswoman from Hawaii who once aligned herself with Donald Trump. Things came to a head when she sparred with Pete Buttigieg about his lack of foreign affairs experience, as he has only served as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Gabbard honed in on a remark Buttigieg recently made about being willing to send US troops to Mexico. “That is outlandish, even by the standards of today’s politics,” a visibly irked Buttigieg responded. “Do you seriously think anybody on this stage is proposing invading Mexico? …I’m talking about building alliances.”

Gabbard went on to say that Buttigieg would “lack the courage” to meet with dictators, as the Trump administration is currently doing, juggling lukewarm relationships with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and, of course, Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Buttigieg had a whip-smart and short response: “I would not have sat down with a murderous dictator,” he told the congresswoman, referencing her meeting with Assad in Syria, in 2017. After the meeting, which she recently told Stephen Colbert was in “pursuit of peace and security,” Gabbard expressed skepticism about Assad’s use of chemical warfare on his own people; the US government and the United Nations both say there is substantial evidence that Assad did so, and should be classified a war criminal.

Gabbard has contended that meeting with figures like Assad is essential, as the US must be “willing to meet with adversaries.” Maybe… just not that one? California Senator Kamala Harris honed in on this during a spat with Gabbard earlier in the evening, as well, saying the congresswoman “fails to call a war criminal by what he is — a war criminal.” Gabbard called the senator’s talking point ” lies and smears.”

What all three candidates could agree on, however, is that Trump needs to be beaten in 2020. Their colleague, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, delivered one of the quotes of the night when she said, “If you think a woman can’t beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every day.” They can’t deny that one.

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