Tulsi Gabbard in Interviews during 2017-2019


On Energy & Oil: Mixed score on "350 Action's 2020 Climate Test"

The environmental group 350 Action released a candidate scorecard known as the 2020 Climate Test to assess presidential hopefuls on three major metrics: support for a Green New Deal, opposition to new fossil fuel development and refusal to accept money from energy companies. [Candidates supporting all three issues]: Four candidates have supported two of 350 Action's three benchmarks.Three candidates have failed all three of 350 Action's tests, attacking the Green New Deal or making no firm pledges to work against fossil fuel companies.
Source: Mother Jones, "On Climate," on 2020 Presidential Hopefuls Mar 27, 2019

On Homeland Security: Don't cut military budget; fund weapons systems & ABMs

Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls Mar 27, 2019

On War & Peace: No regime change in Iran; no war in Yemen

Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls Mar 27, 2019

On Civil Rights: Views on LGBT rights evolved; 100% rating from HRC

Q: Let's talk about your record on LGBT rights. You spent years opposing LGBT rights?

A: I was raised in a socially conservative household with views and beliefs and things that I no longer hold today. My views have evolved, to the point where now you can look to my record over the last six years in Congress that reflect what's in my heart and my commitment to fighting for equality, my commitment to fighting for LGBT rights. I have a 100 percent legislative voting record with the Human Rights Campaign. I'm a member of the Equality Caucus, and, again, look forward to continuing to recognize the work that still must be done towards equality and working to make that change happen.

Source: CNN 2019 "State of the Union" on 2020 Presidential hopefuls Jan 20, 2019

On Foreign Policy: Defends meeting Syria's Assad; supports Trump on North Korea

Q: You met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during that trip to Syria in 2017...

A: It continues to be very important for any leader in this country to be willing to meet with others, whether they be friends or adversaries or potential adversaries, if we are serious about the pursuit of peace and securing our country. It's why I have urged and continue to urge President Trump to meet with people like Kim Jong-un in North Korea, because we understand what's at stake here.

Source: CNN 2019 "State of the Union" on 2020 Presidential hopefuls Jan 20, 2019

On Abortion: Abortion should remain legal and accessible

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls Jan 14, 2019

On Education: Tuition-free community college for all

Gabbard backs Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' proposal to cut or eliminate higher education tuition for most Americans. She would make community college tuition-free for all Americans, and four-year public colleges tuition-free for students whose families make $125,000 or less per year. The plan would pay for that tuition by imposing a new tax on stock and bond trades.
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls Jan 14, 2019

On Energy & Oil: No more fossil fuels for electricity by 2050

One of the most aggressive pieces of climate change legislation in Congress, Gabbard's "OFF Fuels for a Better Future Act" would mandate a dramatic move away from fossil fuels. The plan would require electric utilities to use 80 percent renewable resources by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035. In addition, it would set similar goals for car emissions, mandating zero emissions by 2050. Finally, it would end all subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuels and it would ban fracking.
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls Jan 14, 2019

On Gun Control: Ban assault weapons; require universal background checks

In Congress, Gabbard has co-sponsored bills that would ban assault weapons and require background checks for all gun purchases, including closing what is known as the "gun-show loophole."
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls Jan 14, 2019

On Health Care: Supports Medicare-for-All; tax wealthiest 5% to pay for it

Gabbard co-sponsored a bill to create a government-run system to provide health care for all residents of the United States. That bill, "The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act," would pay for health care by increasing taxes on the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, create a progressive excise tax on payroll and self-employment, tax unearned income, and also tax stock and bond transactions (not just the gains from those transactions).
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls Jan 14, 2019

On Homeland Security: Allow transgender Americans in the military

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls Jan 14, 2019

On War & Peace: End US support for Saudi-led conflict in Yemen

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls Jan 14, 2019

On Civil Rights: Regrets past anti-gay statements; now pro-LGBTQ+ rights

Gabbard said in a recent CNN interview that she will seek her party's nomination for president in 2020. Her past views and activism in opposition to LGBT rights in the late 90s and early 2000s, which put her out of step with most of the Democratic Party at the time, have come under more intense scrutiny since her announcement.

Although Gabbard's positions on LGBT rights have shifted dramatically in more recent years (she signed a 2013 amicus brief supporting a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act), the extent of Gabbard's past anti-gay activism has already drawn criticism from prominent Democrats and will likely be a major issue for her as she seeks the party's nomination.

In a statement to CNN provided after the initial publication of this story, Gabbard said, "First, let me say I regret the positions I took in the past, and the things I said. I'm grateful for those in the LGBTQ+ community who have shared their aloha with me throughout my personal journey."

Source: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN.com, on 2020 presidential hopefuls Jan 13, 2019

On Civil Rights: 2002: Amend Constitution to protect traditional marriage

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in the early 2000s touted working for her father's anti-gay organization. During her run for state legislature in 2002, Gabbard said, "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." The quote, which CNN's KFile found during a review of Gabbard's early career, shows how closely she aligned herself with her father's mission at the time.

Gabbard's father ran The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, a political action committee aimed at opposing pro-gay lawmakers and to pass an amendment in 1998 that gave the Hawaii state legislature power to "reserve marriage to opposite- sex couples." The amendment to the state's constitution passed.

Gabbard was 17 at the time of the vote and cited working with her father and the organization during her run for the state legislature in Hawaii four years later when she was age 21.

Source: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN.com, on 2020 presidential hopefuls Jan 13, 2019

On Civil Rights: 2004: We shouldn't represent views of homosexual extremists

[A CNN KFile review shows that] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's anti-gay efforts continued after she became a state representative. Shortly after Gabbard announced her presidential ambitions, her testimony at a hearing opposing a civil unions bill in 2004 resurfaced:

"To try to act as if there is a difference between 'civil unions' and same-sex marriage is dishonest, cowardly and extremely disrespectful to the people of Hawaii," Gabbard said at the time. "As Democrats we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists."

The resurfaced comments drew condemnation from former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the first governor in America to support civil unions and who sought the Democratic nomination in 2004. "I was on the other side of this argument wearing a bulletproof vest while she was saying this," Dean tweeted.

Source: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN.com, on 2020 presidential hopefuls Jan 13, 2019

On Civil Rights: 2012: Apologized for anti-LGBT past; pro-LGBT bills now

In 2012, when running for Congress, Gabbard apologized to LGBT activists in Hawaii for her past comments. "I want to apologize for statements that I have made in the past that have been very divisive and even disrespectful to those within the LGBT community," Gabbard said. "I know that those comments have been hurtful and I sincerely offer my apology to you and hope that you will accept it."

Since joining Congress in 2013, Gabbard has supported efforts to promote LGBT equality, including co-sponsoring pro-LGBT legislation like The Equality Act, a bill to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect LGBT individuals.

"I grew up in a very kind of conservative household. A multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-faith home," Gabbard said in New Hampshire in December 2018, speaking to her shift. "Diverse in our makeup and diverse in our views. And I held views growing up that I no longer hold."

Source: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN.com, on 2020 presidential hopefuls Jan 13, 2019

On Families & Children: 2000: Don't let gay activists force their values on our kids

Listed among Gabbard's past work [in a 2002 candidate] profile by a Honolulu newspaper was her work at The Alliance for Traditional Marriage. A CNN KFile review of the organization's website uncovers the organization supported controversial gay conversion therapy, which treats homosexuality as a mental illness that can be fixed. The practice is opposed by the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association and has been banned for use on minors in 14 states and D.C., including Hawaii in 2018.

Tulsi Gabbard herself is quoted in a 2000 press release from The Alliance for Traditional Marriage. In it, she attacks gay rights activists who were opposed to her mother Carol's bid for the state's board of education. "This war of deception and hatred against my mom 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 is quoted as saying.

Source: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN.com, on 2020 presidential hopefuls Jan 13, 2019

On Civil Rights: Against gay marriage but no government morality

Her state Democratic Party LGBT caucus openly distrusts her and backed her primary opponent in 2016. When questioned why, the chairman cited two things. One was her less-than-stellar answers to a questionnaire they had sent. The other was a 2015 interview with Ozy, in which she confirmed that her personal views on gay marriage and abortion hadn't changed, just her view on whether the government should enforce its vision of morality. In 2013, the caucus asked Gabbard to send someone to testify at the legislative special session on same-sex marriage, only to be told that Gabbard "doesn't get involved in state politics." Gabbard's Hawaiian colleagues in Congress all sent a representative to testify in support. Gabbard does not actively work against gay rights. She's cosponsored and supported numerous bills favoring the LGBT community, from the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls May 27, 2017

On Foreign Policy: Skeptical of Iran nuclear deal

Gabbard told Fox News she was "cynical" toward the pact and agreed with host Greta van Susteren that it was akin to Neville Chamberlain's infamous Munich agreement with Hitler in 1938. On the day the agreement was finalized, she issued a statement saying, "We cannot afford to make the same mistake with Iran that was made with North Korea," citing North Korea's abrogation of the Agreed Framework agreement it had signed in 1994.
Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls May 27, 2017

On Foreign Policy: Supports Egyptian dictator in fight against terrorism

In November 2015, she traveled to Egypt as part of a congressional delegation and met Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. "President el-Sisi has shown great courage and leadership in taking on this extreme Islamist ideology, while also fighting against ISIS militarily to keep them from gaining a foothold in Egypt," Gabbard said, urging US political leaders to "recognize President el-Sisi and his leadership" and "stand with him in this fight against Islamic extremists."
Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls May 27, 2017

On Foreign Policy: Against criticizing India's treatment of Muslims

Gabbard voted against HR 417, which criticized India's record on religious violence and called for specific measures to guarantee religious freedom in the country, explaining that its passage wouldn't help US-India relations. Yet two years later, Gabbard introduced a similar resolution that covered neighboring Muslim-majority Bangladesh, saying she was "particularly concerned over issues of religious freedom, and specifically, attacks against minority Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and others."
Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls May 27, 2017

On Immigration: 2015: Favor Christian over Islamic refugees

She was one of 47 Democrats to join the GOP in passing the SAFE Act in 2015, which would have added extra requirements to the refugee vetting process [affecting] the admission of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the country. She introduced a resolution calling for the United States to prioritize religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East -- namely, Christians and Yezidis -- when granting refugee status. "These persecuted religious minority groups must be our first priority," she said. She seems to have somewhat softened her stances recently. She came out against Trump's refugee and travel bans, for example. Around the same time, Gabbard spoke at an event held by the group Muslims for Peace, in which she uncharacteristically spoke of "so-called religious terrorism" and affirmed that "the perpetrators of these horrific actions have no connection with the spiritual love that lies at the heart of all religions."
Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls May 27, 2017

On War & Peace: Use military to fight terrorists, not for regime change

She told Fox in 2014 that she would direct "the great military that we have" to conduct "unconventional strategic precise operations to take out these terrorists wherever they are."

"In short, when it comes to the war against terrorists, I'm a hawk," she told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald last year. "When it comes to counterproductive wars of regime change, I'm a dove." Gabbard lambasted the Obama administration for avoiding the phrase. In one interview, she told the host that "the vast majority of terrorist attacks conducted around the world for over the last decade have been conducted by groups who are fueled by this radical Islamic ideology."

Gabbard complained that by "not using this term 'Islamic extremism' and clearly identifying our enemies," the administration couldn't "come up with a very effective strategy to defeat that enemy."

Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls May 27, 2017

On War & Peace: Opposes fighting in Afghanistan & Syria; end arms to Saudis

She has called for pulling out of Afghanistan, the longest war in US history, suggesting that the government invest the money instead into "rebuilding our own nation through long-term infrastructure projects." She's opposed US intervention in Syria since 2013, air strikes in Iraq, and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. She backed Sanders in the Democratic primary because of Clinton's record of supporting "interventionist regime change wars."
Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls May 27, 2017

On Foreign Policy: U.S. should focus on fighting terrorism, not regime change

Gabbard has long advocated that the U.S. should focus its efforts in Syria on Islamist groups instead of ousting Assad. She introduced legislation that would bar the U.S. government from supporting groups allied with or supporting terrorist organizations, some of which are fighting against the Assad regime. Her views on Syria appear to align more closely with those of President Trump, who says the U.S. should focus its efforts on defeating ISIS.
Source: The Atlantic, "Gabbard to Syria": 2020 presidential hopefuls Jan 31, 2017

The above quotations are from Interviews during 2017-2019, interviewing presidential hopefuls for 2020.
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Page last updated: Jun 10, 2019