Numerous Democrats and liberal pundits have come to Hillary Clinton’s defense as she faces a backlash from everyone from President Donald Trump to Senator Bernie Sanders for her suggestion that Representative Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian asset.
Lisa Lerer, a New York Times reporter, celebrated Clinton as a “master troll” who “picked a fight” with Gabbard. She’s “living her best life,” as she spreads rumors that a sitting congresswoman is likely an agent of a foreign power. “Welcome to Hillary Unplugged.”
She wrote an article for the Times before the October 15 debate, “What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To?” It freely cast aspersions on Gabbard for not dropping out of the presidential race and followed a template prevalent in the United States media since Gabbard declared her candidacy.
Zac Petkanas, who was the rapid response director for the Clinton campaign, quipped that it took awhile for Gabbard to react to Clinton because she had to run her response by Vladimir Putin first. “Honestly, it probably sounded better in the original Russian.”
Phillippe Reines, a former Clinton spokesperson, later added, “In three tweets, [Gabbard] called Hillary worse than she has ever called Assad or Putin. If Russian-compromised Trump and third-party menace Jill Stein had a child, it would be Tulsi Gabbard.”
Clinton Democrats have long believed, absent any proof, that the Green Party presidential candidate was a Russian agent whose role in the 2016 election was to ensure Clinton lost to Trump. And Clinton said Russia may want Gabbard to run as a third-party candidate but that depends on whether Stein will give up her role in the party.
Adam Parkhomenko, founder of the Ready For Hillary super PAC, reacted, “Tulsi Gabbard (R-Moscow) is back on the clock,” and, “Tulski Gabbard is wide awake at almost midnight local time in Moscow. For those that want to support the American running against her and lift up our efforts to elect him, let’s add another 250 contributions to his campaign now.”
When Sanders came to Gabbard’s defense, he viscerally reacted, “Fuck Bernie. I’d forgotten how much I despise that asshole. Thanks for the reminder.”
Zerlina Maxwell, a former Clinton campaign official and director of SiriusXM’s progressive programming, said she“didn’t go far enough, and we have to decide whether or not we’ll listen to Hillary Clinton.” She added, “In 2016, anchors literally laughed at Hillary Clinton when she said it was Russia” targeting her campaign.
Back in March, it was Maxwell who lied about one of the first speeches Sanders delivered as part of his 2020 presidential campaign. She said he did not mention race or gender until 23 minutes into the speech.
Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin, hosts of “The View,” applauded Clinton and described Gabbard as a “useful idiot” and a “Trojan horse” candidate.
“She told us about Russia, she told us about the probable interference,” Hostin remarked. “She was secretary of state. She has deep world knowledge of world issues. I thought, where’s the lie?”
Similarly, Terry McAuliffe promoted the viewpoint that the public should trust Clinton. Maybe she knows something more that she is not sharing at this moment.
“This is something that she’s been reading a lot about. I don’t know whether Tulsi Gabbard is connected with the Russians,” McAuliffe said on CNN. “But the Russian state media has been very favorable toward her. She won’t come out and really go after [Bashar] Assad, who is a genocidal dictator.”
Media hucksters have tried to play dumb, pretending it was never confirmed that Clinton was referring to Gabbard.
Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart said on MSNBC that Clinton had not named names. However, Gabbard was like, “‘Me! Me! Me! Me!'” (In 2016, Capehart spread false accusations that Sanders shared “fake photos” of himself engaged in civil rights activism.)
As NBC News reporter Jonathan Allen put it, Clinton said there was a Russian asset, didn’t name anybody, and yet Gabbard reacted, “How dare you call me a Russian asset?”
But Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill told reporters, “If the nesting doll fits,” and confirmed she was referring to Gabbard.
Kimberly Atkins, a senior news correspondent for WBUR, appeared on MSNBC’s “Up with Gura” on October 19 and said Gabbard “never denied being a Russian asset.” The panel erupted into nasty laughter.
Behar also said, ““She hasn’t denied it. She hasn’t said anything in her tweets. ‘How dare you? It’s outrageous. Of course, I’m not.’ She didn’t say that. She’s just going after Hillary.”
The Daily Beast poured sprinkles on top of this McCarthyist sundae with an article headlined, “The Kremlin’s Strategy For the 2020 U.S. Election: Secure the Base, Split the Opposition.” Though it did not specifically highlight Clinton’s attack on Gabbard, it sought to lend credence to the thrust of what she claimed.
“Russia’s propagandists will seek agents-of-influence, individuals inside the American government and media able to influence national policy,” Daily Beast contributor Clint Watts wrote. “And the agents they seek this time around will largely be across the political left, seeking to amplify and connect their preferred Kremlin message with that of the right.”
It was Clinton and her supporters in and outside of the press, who went after Gabbard and sowed discord. Yet, based upon widespread delusions, many Democrats and liberal pundits would have the public believe this is exactly what Putin wants. He is pleased that Trump, Sanders, and various other Democratic presidential candidates are condemning the presidential nominee Trump defeated.
At Medium, Shadowproof’s Kevin Gosztola put together a comprehensive examination of Clinton’s attack on Gabbard and how it fits into a disinformation campaign that Gabbard has endured since the first days of her campaign. Read it here.