On January 11th, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) announced her intention to run for president to Van Jones on CNN. Many on the progressive left were enthused because of her reputation as a prominent backer of Bernie Sanders when nearly the rest of the party had it out for him in the 2016 campaign. Furthermore, they hail the possibility of the first Hindu-American becoming president of the United States.
While these may seem to be admirable sentiments, this rhetoric reveals a deep superficiality and ignorance of the congresswoman’s record which render her unqualified to be elected president.
Despite styling herself as a great progressive stalwart, her record demonstrates that she is more than comfortable with both supporting and receiving support from fascists. Amongst the most problematic aspects of her record is her record on Syria. Not only has she opposed any American intervention but she has actually met with the Assad himself and questioned the extent and nature of his atrocities.
In hailing Assad as a fighter of terrorists while failing to recognize his own responsibility in the atrocities in Syria, she has manifestly failed on this point.
Assad is hardly the only fascist or despot that Gabbard has taken comfort in. To begin, she has had no problem allying herself with Hindu nationalists responsible for major atrocities against minorities in India, especially Muslims. For example, according to the Jacobin, Gabbard opposed Modi being denied entry into the country even before he was Prime Minister despite the fact that he failed to stop several days of riots against Muslims in Gujarat claiming hundreds or even thousands of lives. She claimed that he was a victim of “misinformation”.
Defenders of Gabbard may cry foul that this is simply an attack on her Hindu background, but nothing could be further from the truth. She is not the only Hindu in Congress, and they have not received such criticisms giving the lie to such ridiculous claims.
To top it all off, Gabbard has had no problem allying herself with the brutal despot of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Similar to her support of Modi and Assad, she has defended such actions under the guise of “extreme Islamist ideology”.
According to the Jacobin, Gabbard said Sisi “has shown great courage and leadership” in doing so. The reality is that Sisi’s government has turned Egypt into one of the most repressive countries in the world even to the extent of attempting to block the publication of an interview he did with 60 minutes which included him being challenged on his countries human rights record.
When scrutinizing Gabbard’s record, all pretenses of progressivism vanish and reveal a morally bankrupt individual undeserving of any position of responsibility let alone the White House.
Tulsi Gabbard has become popular amongst a section of the progressive left by projecting her as a great reformer who will oppose the status quo. When her record is scrutinized, the facade falls apart. She has shown a massive moral deficit in failing by allying herself with some of the most brutal despots around the world under the guise of fighting “Islamist ideology”.
Such actions reveal a deep anti-Muslim bias in which she is willing to excuse the crimes of her allies under such an absurd pretext. Truly moral leadership can only come from someone who opposes injustice wherever it may be rather than excusing some under the pretense of fighting others.
Even if we are to assume she is ignorant of such realities, this only reveals manifest incompetence in being so easily duped by the excuses of despots in order to support it.
No matter how one interprets the realities of Gabbard’s records, it is impossible to escape the conclusion that she is unfit to be president.