United States Representative Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii's second Congressional district, released a statement last Thursday critical of the Trump administration's decision to bomb airfields in Syria. President Trump made the decision to strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military airfields following Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons in northern Syria days prior, that killed upwards of seventy people, including several children.

Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, urges caution in using military action


Gabbard was elected to the United States Congress in 2013, having previously served in the Hawaii State House of Representatives from 2002 to 2004, and in the Hawaii National Guard since 2004, including spending a deployment in Iraq. Gabbard has run on a progressive, populist platform, being a strong supporter of LGBT and abortion rights, environmental protection, and banking regulation, and an opponent of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and regime change in other countries. Gabbard has drawn controversy in recent months, first for being one of the first Democratic elected officials to meet with President Trump, and secondly for meeting with President Assad in Syria during a tour of the country.

The Syrian strike has been a departure from Trump's rhetoric, as during the 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised not to intervene further in the Syrian civil war. Trump also made several comments indicating that he did not believe use of chemical weapons in warfare was a serious issue. According to several reports, Trump's opinion changed upon seeing footage of the chemical attack, leading him to order an attack of an estimated sixty Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base.

Gabbard initially found agreement with Trump on aspects of American foreign policy, including advocating non-interventionism and not supporting regime change. However, following an earlier disagreement where Gabbard opposed the Dakote Access Pipeline, the Hawaiian Congresswoman has been critical of Trump and his decisions in office.

Democratic leaders turn on Gabbard following Syria statements

Following Gabbard's declaration that she opposed the US striking Syria, several powerful figures in the Democratic party have criticized the lawmaker. Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean and Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden have taken to social media to criticize Gabbard, claiming that the Congresswoman's opposition to the strikes means that she supports keeping Assad in power.