Tulsi Gabbard: Trump should avoid 'the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating'
Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says she and President-elect Trump discussed Syria and the fight against the Islamic State in her meeting with Trump on Monday, during which she implored him to avoid escalating the Syrian conflict.
"I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government — a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families," Gabbard said in a statement following her meeting with the president-elect.
"While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives," Gabbard said.
The Hawaiian progressive is a rumored contender for Cabinet positions that include U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and secretary of veterans affairs.
Gabbard, who was one of the few elected Democrats to back Sen. Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, said she warned Trump about the dangers of setting up a no-fly zone over Syria and encouraged him to consider ending the U.S. effort to oust the regime of Bashar Assad.
"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," Gabbard said. "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 which could result 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," she added.
Clinton supported the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria and dismissed concerns that the policy could sharply escalate tensions between the U.S. and Russia.
Trump has suggested focusing not on the removal of Assad but on the fight against the Islamic State in his country.