In a video posted on her social media, Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard suggested that Hillary Clinton recently “smeared” her as a “Russian asset” as payback for Gabbard’s defiance of the party establishment in 2016.
Gabbard suggested that Clinton is trying to portray her as a traitor, sending a message for the rest of the Democratic Party that she “could do it to anyone.”
“If you stand up to Hillary and the party power brokers — if you stand up to the rich and powerful elite and the war machine, they will destroy you and discredit your message. But, here is the truth: They will not intimidate us. They will not silence us,” she said in a short video.
The post came as several candidates, including Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson, have criticized Clinton’s unfounded suggestion that Russians have been “grooming” Gabbard to be a third-party spoiler in the race.
Gabbard referenced her time as the vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2013 to 2016 before quitting to support Bernie Sanders for the presidential elections. At the time, Gabbard accused party leaders of stifling her freedom of speech and unfairly tipping the scales in favour of eventual nominee Hillary Clinton.
“People warned me in 2016 that my endorsement of Bernie Sanders would be the end of my ‘political career’ – they said Clinton would never forget,” Gabbard said in the video, “that she and her rich and powerful friends – her allies in politics and the media – will make sure you’re destroyed.”
The feud between the Hawaiian Rep and former 2016 Democratic nominee began after Clinton appeared in a podcast with former Obama adviser David Plouffe, in which she said she wasn’t “making any predictions, but [she thinks Russians] have got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” describing Gabbard as “the favorite of the Russians.” That prompted Gabbard to respond forcefully to Clinton on Twitter Friday, calling her the “queen of warmongers.”