(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who has made foreign policy a central part of her campaign, said President Donald Trump is “setting the stage for a war in Iran.”
“He is leading us down this dangerous path towards a war in Iran,” Gabbard told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday.
On Wednesday, Gabbard told ABC News that she believed actions coming from Trump and national security adviser John Bolton, “are dangerously escalating us closer and closer towards a devastating war with Iran.”
On “This Week,” Gabbard, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, went further, telling Stephanopoulos, “I think what we’re seeing, unfortunately, is what looks a lot like people in the Trump administration trying to create a pretext or an excuse for us to go to war against Iran.”
She warned that a war in Iran “would actually undermine our national security, cost us countless American lives, cost civilian lives across the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis in Europe and it would actually make us less safe by strengthening terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.”
Also on Wednesday, as tensions continued to build, the U.S. State Department ordered all non-emergency government employees to leave the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil.
“We heard conflicting stories coming from the British commander who is the co-commander of the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda there in Iraq and Syria saying, hey, he hadn’t seen an escalation of tensions or threats coming from these Iraqi — or these Shia militias serving in Iraq,” she said.
Stephanopoulos asked Gabbard about the withdrawal from the diplomatic posts, which she responded were not the result of the White House’s claims of increased tension in the Middle East.
The 2020 candidate, an Iraq war veteran who also serves as a major in the Hawaii National Guard, has made clear her stance against military involvement in foreign nations.
Gabbard told Stephanopoulos, “I’ve also seen and experienced the cost of war firsthand. And I’m committed — as commander in chief — to end these wasteful regime change wars.”
While Gabbard has called the president out for his rhetoric and policies, she has also adopted some of Trump’s key phrases such as “fake news.”
When asked on “This Week” about a Daily Beast article that claimed her campaign received donations from “Putin Apologists,” Gabbard refuted the claim and described the piece to ABC News as a “whole lot of fake news.”
Stephanopoulos asked Gabbard, “many Democrats have been tougher on Vladimir Putin than President Trump. Do you think Democrats are taking too hard a line?”
She responded, “I think that the escalation of tensions that we’ve seen between the United States and nuclear-armed countries like Russia and China — and you’re right — it has come from this administration, it’s also come from some Democrats and Republicans in Congress.”
“It has brought us to this very dangerous point where nuclear strategists point out that we are at a greater risk of nuclear war now than ever before in history and we’ve got to understand what the consequences of that are,” she added.
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