During a campaign rally yesterday evening in Fairfax, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard expressed her disappointment in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to tear up her copy of the State of the Union address Donald Trump delivered earlier this month.
“I would not have done what she did,” the Congresswoman said. While she wasn’t at the State of the Union because she was campaigning up in New Hampshire that evening, she claims to have woken up the next morning and noticed Pelosi ripping up the speech “was one of the main things that was trending.” She told the crowd she “just shook [her] head” upon reading the news because she was so disappointed.
“I think, like a lot of people,” she added, “we’re sick and tired of the political theater and the drama in Washington. It’s not helping. It’s not helping to heal these divides.”
The remarks were made during the Q&A portion of the event in response to a question from a self described Trump supporter. The gentleman wanted to know if Rep. Gabbards supported the ethics complaint Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida had filed against Pelosi. He claimed the Speaker’s actions were “beneath the dignity of the House and a potential violation of law.”
Although Gabbard did say she didn’t think Pelosi’s actions warranted an ethics investigation, she believed it helped to illustrate how many elected officials aren’t focused on the right issues.
“There are real challenges and real hardships that every one of our leaders from Donald Trump to Nancy Pelosi need to be focused on,” Tulsi told the crowd. “Actually working together to solve these problems and help people” deserves much more attention that partisan bickering.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Gabbard has gotten into a rift with leaders in the Democratic Party. Back in October, for instance, Hillary Clinton famously implied she was a puppet of the Russian government. The Congresswoman has now filed a lawsuit against her for $50 million saying the former Secretary of State “carelessly and recklessly impugned” her character.
In the lawsuit, Tulsi says she “seeks to hold Clinton, and the political elites who enable her, accountable for distorting the truth in the middle of a critical Presidential election.” This was very much along the same lines of the message that she was promoting during last night’s campaign rally.
While introducing her at the event, for instance, a supporter named Carl said “the corporate establishment has its foot the neck of every other politician,” but could never gain control of Rep. Gabbard since “they know that Tulsi will not do their bidding.”
This tied in with how Tulsi claimed that greed was corrupting the political process. Whether it was through financial gain or simply those in power supposedly being willing to do whatever it takes to keep it, she repeatedly spoke in opposition to “the establishment” and the current state of our political system.
“I hate the pay to play politics that rules the day in Washington,” the Congresswoman said. “I hate the politics of hyper partisanship. Of people in positions of power and influence who are more interested in keeping their power than helping people who they are supposed to be serving.”
This type of messaging could potentially tap into a growing sentiment among the general public, but her campaign has somehow managed to attract supporters who take the frustration expressed in her stump speech to a whole new level. As the line was forming prior to last night’s event, for example, several of her supporters were claiming Assad’s war crimes in Syria were really just a media conspiracy that people were using in part to make Gabbard look bad.
Others claimed the DNC was out to get Tulsi and were actively trying to prevent her from sharing her views during the debates. While her campaign isn’t the only one frustrated by not being able to qualify for the debate stage recently, other candidates don’t appear as eager to claim their inability to get enough donors or high enough poll results were actually a result of a conspiracy being run by high ranking officials within the Democratic Party.
The conspiracy theories being floated only got worse once inside the building. An older gentleman wearing a “veterans for Tulsi” t-shirt rambled on about how the establishment was doing everything it could to limit her influence on the primary process. He insisted this was actually one of the reasons he was supporting her candidacy. The 68 year old retiree eventually tied his claims about “the establishment” into a theory he was promoting that Israeli oil interests played a role in the war in Iraq. According to the people he was talking to, this is why Colin Powell gave his speech about weapons of mass destruction in a desperate attempt to keep world leaders in powerful positions.
All this is to say that somebody who simply listens to her stump speech might find Tulsi Gabbard’s candidacy appealing, but a deeper dive into her campaign and its supporters raises a whole lot of other questions. And decrying Pelosi’s decision to tear up the text of Trump’s speech simply highlights how the Congresswoman from Hawaii appears to almost seek out any opportunity she has to attack the current leaders in the Democratic Party.
For those who are interested, the audio below is of the exchange she had regarding Pelosi at the State of the Union Address.