When Tulsi Gabbard heads to Standing Rock as part of a veteran shield on Sunday, she’ll easily be one of the most notable names in the group — partially because she was one of the few Democrats to be invited to Trump Tower in New York City to speak with the President-elect.
Tulsi holds a unique position among the left. She’s a staunchly progressive Democrat who endorsed Bernie Sanders but nearly refused to do so for Hillary Clinton, largely because of a hesitancy to get on board with the unsuccessful Democratic nominee’s hawkish foreign policy. Unlike some non-interventionists attacked by neo-conservatives, her distaste for American boots on the ground comes from experience. Gabbard served two tours in Iraq with the National Guard — eventually becoming a major.
That front-line experience fits her in comfortably with the military officers who are populating Trump’s cabinet, but unlike most of them, Tulsi falls in line with Donald’s promise of a less invasive U.S. foreign policy. Like many of the veterans she’ll be marching with to form the Standing Rock shield, Gabbard sees a hard-line approach to peace.
— Blavity (@Blavity) November 30, 2016
Tulsi has been a fierce critic of arming rebel forces to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Trump has agreed with this position wholeheartedly, so much so that Assad released a statement earlier this week calling the President-elect “a great ally.” One doesn’t have to wonder if this came up when the incoming president met with Gabbard — she published a full post on Medium documenting what was discussed in the meeting, signing off by telling critics that if her actions caused problems in Washington, then “so be it.”
“I shared with him my grave concerns that escalating the war in Syria by implementing a so-called no fly/safe zone would be disastrous for the Syrian people, our country, and the world. It would lead to more death and suffering, exacerbate the refugee crisis, strengthen ISIS and al-Qaeda and bring us into a direct conflict with Russia–potentially resulting in a nuclear war. We discussed my bill to end our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government and the need to focus our precious resources on rebuilding our own country, and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups who pose a threat to the American people.”
Though it appears likely that 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney will be the next U.S. Secretary of State, many jumped at the possibility that Trump would reach across the aisle to select Tulsi. Washington, D.C. paper The Hill published an editorial arguing that Gabbard was closely aligned with the non-interventionist politics that Donald had advocated on the campaign trail. On top of it, she’s both a woman and a minority — two categories that went ignored until Nikki Haley, Elaine Chao, and Betty DeVos were added recently.
However, it appears that her views on domestic security might jar with those of the Trump administration. Donald has stayed relatively muted on the subject of Standing Rock, even as Tulsi Gabbard and other veterans made their plans to head to the protest. Many in the media have speculated about the President-elect’s ties to the oil industry and what that could mean for the pipeline, though it’s hard to say for sure what will happen until he takes office, noted a Los Angeles Times editorial.
“There are profits at stake and investors to be satisfied. Until recently, one of those investors was a billionaire named Donald Trump who also received campaign donations totaling $103,000 from the CEO of the pipeline company, Kelcy Warren. It is not likely the tribe can expect sympathy from the Great White Father in Washington once he takes office on Jan. 20, if the protesters manage to hold on that long.”
— Ruth Hopkins (@RuthHHopkins) November 29, 2016
Tulsi Gabbard and the rest of the Standing Rock veterans shield will arrive at the North Dakota Pipeline protest on Sunday, planning to stay until at least Dec. 7.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]