As controversy roils over 2020 candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's anti-gay history, a conservative and a leftist came together to defend her

Collage by Benjamin Goggin, Richard Drew/AP, AP/J. Scott ApplewhiteDemocratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has found a defender in conservative pundit Tucker Carlson after she has faced criticism for previous anti-gay statements.
  • Conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson and anti-establishment progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald came together Monday evening to defend embattled 2020 candidate Rep Tulsi Gabbard.
  • The pair suggested that the Democratic establishment was coming after Gabbard because of her rejection of the party line, which manifested itself in her support for Bernie Sanders in 2016, among other policy positions.
  • After the announcement that she would run, Gabbard has faced intense criticism for her previous association with an anti-gay group that promoted conversion therapy.

Democratic 2020 candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has come under intense scrutiny following resurfaced anti-gay statements, and now, some conservatives and leftists are joining forces to defend her.

On Monday, two unlikely media personalities joined forces on Fox News to defend Gabbard – conservative pundit Tucker Carlson and leftist journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Carlson hosted a segment on his show where he described Gabbard as being “savaged” and “smeared” by the left, suggesting that critiques of her past were actually about something other than anti-gay rhetoric.

Greenwald – who is himself gay – is best known for working with Edward Snowden to expose NSA surveillance and subsequently founding The Intercept, chimed in to support Carlson’s suggestion, saying, “what’s really going on is two-fold, one is that in 2016 she resigned from the Democratic National Committee because she accused Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC of cheating on behalf of Hillary, and then supported Bernie Sanders, so Democrats hate her for that.”

He continued, “They also hate her because she’s been questioning a lot of Washington orthodoxy that both political parties support including why it is that we continue to try to change the regimes of countries far away like in Syria, and why we continue to prop up regimes that make the world hate us, like in Saudi Arabia.”

“What Washington hates the most are people that are independent minded and critical thinkers,” said Greenwald.

The collaboration between two camps – who appear to fall on the opposite ends of the political spectrum – highlights a fascinating area of political overlap – supporting politicians that vocally break the mainstream Democratic party mould.

Greenwald frequently appears on Fox News and in the past few years has often slammed Democrats for aggressively pursuing the Russia investigation in association with President Donald Trump. In Greenwald’s most recent interview with Carlson, he explicitly denies political support for Gabbard, while going on to to suggest a deeper conspiracy behind the criticism of her.

Carlson has previously given Gabbard hospitable spotlights, following her conversations with President Trump where she advocated against foreign intervention in Syria and following Trump’s strike on Syria, where Gabbard again advocated against intervention.

Read More: Sen. Mazie Hirono signals she will not endorse fellow Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard in her bid for president

The pairing unite around defending a non-traditional candidate

Despite backings from traditional Democratic partners, such as the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood, Gabbard has a history of bucking against establishment Democrats, something that Carlson and Greenwald have done quite frequently.

Gabbard took office in 2013 and was a vocal opponent of President Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership. She later turned heads when she met with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and questioned his role in chemical weapons attacks in the country, despite his regime’s brutal crackdown on protesters that descended into civil war. She has been critical of Democratic rhetoric that denies “radical Islam.”

Perhaps her most notable rebellion against the party line came when Gabbard resigned as the Democratic National Committee Vice Chair during the 2016 election cycle to support Bernie Sanders.

Gabbard said at the time, “Secretary Clinton has a record and positions that will take us into a future that will include more interventionist wars of regime change.” She later alleged the DNC purposefully planned only six debates in an effort to support Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

Gabbard has been attacked for previous anti-gay statements

Most recently, Gabbard has taken heat for her past statements against gay people, the substance of which wasn’t discussed by Carlson and Greenwald.

On Sunday, the weekend after Gabbard announced her presidential run, CNN unearthed Gabbard’s previous association and support of her father’s anti-gay group, The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, that went as far as to support conversion therapy.

When she was 21 and first running for state office, Gabbard touted the work, saying “Working with my father, Mike Gabbard, and others to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage, I learned that real leaders are willing to make personal sacrifices for the common good. I will bring that attitude of public service to the legislature.”

In 2000, Gabbard defended her mother, who was running for office, against critics, saying “This war of deception and hatred against my mum is being waged by homosexual activists because they know, that if elected, she will not allow them to force their values down the throats of the children in our schools.”

Gabbard has since apologised for the comments, saying, “I regret the positions I took in the past, and the things I said,” but has received significant scrutiny on the matter from the press and on social media.

Watch the whole clip below:

Write to Benjamin Goggin at [email protected]

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