- The fifth round of the 2020 Democratic presidential debates took place in Atlanta on Wednesday night after a lengthy day of impeachment hearings.
- Early in the debate, Sen. Kamala Harris issued the first heated attack of the night, excoriating Rep. Tulsi Gabbard over her frequent Fox News appearances and criticism of the Democratic Party.
- Harris also went after Gabbard’s controversial record regarding Syrian President Bashar Assad.
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During the fifth round of the 2020 Democratic presidential debates, Sen. Kamala Harris of California ripped into Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii over her frequent Fox News appearances and criticism of the Democratic Party.
The heated exchange began after Gabbard was asked about her recent criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who during an October interview suggested the Hawaii lawmaker was being groomed by the GOP to be a third-party candidate. Clinton also referred to Gabbard as a “favourite of the Russians.”
In her first question of the debate, held Wednesday night in Atlanta, Gabbard was asked to explain why she believed Clinton was the “rot” of the Democratic Party.
Gabbard said the party “continues to be influenced by the foreign-policy establishment represented by Hillary Clinton and others.”
The Hawaii lawmaker said she was running to end the “Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign-policy doctrine of regime-change wars.”
Gabbard also said: “Our Democratic Party, unfortunately, is not the party that is of, by and for the people.” That particular remark was tweeted out alongside a “100” emoji by the official Trump War Room Twitter account linked to the president’s reelection campaign.
Harris was asked to respond to Gabbard’s remarks, and she did not hold back.
‘It’s unfortunate that we have someone on this stage … who during the Obama administration spent four years on Fox News criticising President Obama,” Harris said. “What we need on this stage, in November, is someone who has the ability to win.”
WATCH: Sen. Harris heavily criticizes Rep. Gabbard's record, and Gabbard fires back. pic.twitter.com/7fLwSVpLbu
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 21, 2019
Harris also went after Gabbard’s controversial decision to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad and her refusal to explicitly refer to him as a war criminal.
The California senator said Gabbard “fails to call a war criminal by what he is – a war criminal.”
In response, Gabbard said: “What Senator Harris is doing is unfortunately continuing to traffic in lies and smears and innuendos because she cannot challenge the substance of the argument that I am making.”
This is not the first time Gabbard and Harris have sparred during a presidential debate. During the debate in Detroit over the summer, Gabbard went after Harris’ prosecutorial record, zeroing in on the issue of marijuana legalization.
Gabbard has become a regular on Fox News, often appearing on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” and has garnered support from pro-Trump, right-wing internet celebrities – particularly after her recent spat with Clinton.
The former secretary of state’s comments on Gabbard have raised her profile, but that has not translated into an increase in support for the Hawaii lawmaker among likely Democratic voters, according to a new Insider poll released Wednesday.
- Read more:
- Tulsi Gabbard won’t call Syria’s Assad a war criminal as she dances around Stephen Colbert’s tough questioning
- Tulsi Gabbard’s foreign policy frustrates centrist Democrats, draws cheers from anti-interventionists, and makes her political identity tough to pigeonhole
- Meghan McCain calls Tulsi Gabbard an ‘Assad apologist’ in heated exchange on Syria