Tulsi Gabbard Interview Transcripts: Tulsi Gabbard Rips Into Kamala Harris in Post-Debate Interviews
Tulsi Gabbard had some choice words for Kamala Harris after the debate, saying Harris “didn’t answer any questions” and lobbed “cheap” smears at her in the democratic debates. Tulsi Gabbard followed up the debate with two key interviews: one with Chris Cuomo of CNN and one with Tucker Carlson of Fox News. See the full transcript of both interviews here on Rev.com.
Tucker Carlson: 00:00 We just talked about Senator Kamala Harris. So far she’s gotten a free pass from the press on her presidential run. They want her to be the next president, so they are overlooking her background. She is a former prosecutor, as you know, but the press has let her rebrand as a crusader for prison reform. No one’s called her on it until last night. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii definitely called her on it. Watch this.
Tulsi Gabbard: 00:24 There are too many examples to cite, but she put over 1500 people in jail for marijuana violations, and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana. She blocked evidence. She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California. There is no excuse for that and the people who suffered under your reign as prosecutor, you owe them an apology.
Tucker Carlson: 00:58 It was an electric moment, and it might be why Congresswoman Gabbard was the most Googled candidate since the debate last night. She joins us tonight. Congresswoman, thanks a lot for coming on.
Tulsi Gabbard: 01:08 Thanks, Tucker.
Tucker Carlson: 01:09 So, I haven’t heard anybody say what you said. Why are you the first person to say this?
Tulsi Gabbard: 01:16 Look, voters deserve to know the truth. The decision that the American people have before them is a critical one. The decision that Democrats have before them about who their nominees should be is a very important one. They deserve to know the truth about the candidates that are before them, and especially on this issue of criminal justice reform that’s impacting so many people across this country, because it is so broken and it is an unjust criminal justice system.
Tulsi Gabbard: 01:44 Senator Kamala Harris was in a position to be able to make a difference in that when she was serving as attorney general, and as I pointed out last night, she did not fulfill that promise that she claims to have, which is to be a champion for the people, be a champion for the oppressed. In fact, she did the exact opposite. She made decisions that ended up hurting people, that ended up hurting minorities, hurting poor people in the state of California, which is concerning to me for someone who wants to be the president of United States, and frankly who’s claiming to be a prosecutor president.
Tucker Carlson: 02:19 So, I think this is a really interesting debate. This topic deserves a real debate. You have a perspective, she’s got a perspective, you know, let’s hear them both. She would not engage with you, and that’s what I found contemptible but also fascinating. Rather than rebut what you said, she dismissed you, and her spokesman later dismissed you even more savagely as a Putin apologist. What do you make of that?
Tulsi Gabbard: 02:42 You know, a couple of things. First of all, what I was sharing was not a matter of opinion. These are widely reported facts and reports about her tenure as attorney general in California, her career as a prosecutor, and we’re not talking about something that happened 30 years ago or 50 years ago. These are things that she did in her last job just before she was elected as US senator, and she should be held to account for them. She’s claimed to be very proud of this record, so answer for it.
Tulsi Gabbard: 03:11 The voters deserve to know, but you’re right. She refused to answer the question. She refused to engage on the debate stage, and the responses from her and her campaign after the debate was basically to lob cheap smears and basically say that I’m a traitor or a foreign agent or a Trojan horse or whatever it was, and trying to feed those talking points to the media. So, this is concerning on many levels about how a Senator Harris would govern as president, that if there are those who are critics of her or her record… For me, I’m a two time veteran of Middle East deployments. I’m a soldier currently still serving in the Army. I’m a sitting member of Congress and she’s smearing me in this way. Imagine what she would do to anyone else as president-
Tucker Carlson: 04:03 I think it’s a fair point. That’s a fair point. It’s the first refuge of the contemptible I think. What did you think of CNN’s debate, the way that they ran it, were you satisfied with it?
Tulsi Gabbard: 04:17 I think it had a little more decorum than we saw in the first debate, but you know, look, I wish there was a more fair and balanced approach in how every candidate would have the right amount of time to be able to address these important issues that we face. There are many of them, 60 seconds and 30 seconds. There are short periods of time to be able to dig into these issues. So this is where I’m looking forward to being able to continue to build the support for our campaign to make it to the qualifications for the next debates and in September and in October.
Tucker Carlson: 04:52 Yeah, I mean, the one place you don’t want to be in Washington is outside the status quo as you are. That’s when you start getting it from all sides. But you’re obviously tough enough to face them.
Tulsi Gabbard: 05:03 Tucker, this is, a lot of the conversation around this and the things that we’re talking about, again, really come down to valuing this role, this job of president, and that most responsibility of commander in chief and appreciating the freedoms that we hold dear in this country. You know, if I have the honor and privilege of serving as president, I can guarantee you that if there are critics to my record or people who disagree with my policies, I’m not going to label them as foreign agents or traitors. Having this vigorous debate is a part of who we are as a country, and it’s something that we’ve got to appreciate and actually honor the voters and the people of this country in making sure that we’re providing them with the truth and the information that they need to make the best decision possible.
Tucker Carlson: 05:52 Amen. Tulsi Gabbard, thanks a lot for coming on tonight. Appreciate it.
Tulsi Gabbard: 05:55 Thank you.
Chris Cuomo: 00:00 Senator Kamala Harris claimed today she was not surprised by anything that came her way last night. Not even this?
Tulsi Gabbard: 00:08 She put over 1500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana. She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as chief labor for the State of California, and she fought to keep tax bail system-
Speaker 3: 00:33 Thank you, Congresswoman.
Tulsi Gabbard: 00:34 … in place, that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way.
Chris Cuomo: 00:38 Now, Harris may not have been surprised by the specific accusations, but she didn’t have specific replies. And Gabbard didn’t make those allegations up, they’re not unsupported, a lot of them come from an op-ed that was written by somebody who used to work with Senator Harris.
Chris Cuomo: 00:52 Now how did it work out? Well that situation you could argue, made Tulsi Gabbard the most googled candidate during the second CNN debate. It’s also made Gabbard a target herself.
Chris Cuomo: 01:04 Let’s bring in the Hawaii Congresswoman. Good to have you on Prime Time.
Tulsi Gabbard: 01:08 Aloha Chris, good to talk to you.
Chris Cuomo: 01:09 Good to see you. So I want to talk to you about um, how you took and why you seemed obviously dissatisfied with uh, the Senator’s answers last night, what you think the state of play is after last night for you and the other democrats. But I want to clear something up. You need to acknowledge that Bashar al-Assad is a murderous despot, and you can still make your argument that the United States has no business risking blood and treasure in places where it should not be. I don’t understand why you didn’t give that answer last night.
Tulsi Gabbard: 01:41 Well first of all, let’s talk about what you’re addressing here. I don’t dispute anything that you’re saying there. He’s a brutal dictator just like Saddam Hussein, just like Gaddafi in Libya. The reason that I’m so outspoken on this issue of ending these wasteful regime change wars is because I have seen firsthand this high, human cost of war and the impact that it has on my fellow brothers and sisters in uniform.
Tulsi Gabbard: 02:07 You know, Chris, I respect you because you’ve spent a lot of time throughout your career shining a light on the challenges that veterans face when they come home. I will do anything and everything that I possibly can to stop sending our men and women in uniform into harm’s way, fighting in these wasteful, counterproductive wars. Make our country less safe.
Chris Cuomo: 02:26 The notion deserves nothing but respect Congresswoman, deserves nothing but respect I’m not disputing that, I think it’s a legitimate claim. But here’s what I’m asking-
Tulsi Gabbard: 02:34 Even if-
Chris Cuomo: 02:34 You put yourself in a hole though, Congresswoman.
Tulsi Gabbard: 02:36 Let me just finish, let me finish this.
Chris Cuomo: 02:37 Go ahead, finish your point, please.
Tulsi Gabbard: 02:37 Let me finish this point.
Chris Cuomo: 02:39 Please.
Tulsi Gabbard: 02:39 Because it’s central to the question that you’re asking. I will never apologize to anyone for doing all that I can to prevent more of my brothers and sisters in uniform from being sent into harm’s way to fight in these wasteful, counterproductive regime change wars, even if it means meeting with a brutal dictator focused on that objective. Keeping the American people safe, making sure my brothers and sisters in uniform are honored by only being sent on missions that are worthy of their sacrifice, and making it so that we stop wasting trillions of our taxpayer dollars on more of these wasteful wars when they are so needed right here at home to address the essential and urgent needs of people in our communities, people like those here in Detroit.
Chris Cuomo: 03:24 I take issue with none of that, none of it. Do not make any other assumption about anything. I’m talking about one specific thing. All of that is completely valid and does not need any benefit to Bashar al-Assad. On your website, I don’t understand why you have information on there that questions the notion that Assad is responsible for things that the US Intel and the United Nations intel believe he’s responsible for. You don’t need to defend him to make your argument, I don’t understand why you do.
Tulsi Gabbard: 03:55 I’ve never defended Assad, what you’re referring to-
Chris Cuomo: 03:57 The stuff on the website, questions of legitimacy of his connection to the attacks.
Tulsi Gabbard: 03:59 What you’re referring to are cynicisms, a skepticism that I have expressed because I’ve served in a war that was caused by people who lied to us.
Chris Cuomo: 04:11 Yes.
Tulsi Gabbard: 04:12 Who lied to the American people.
Chris Cuomo: 04:13 Understood.
Tulsi Gabbard: 04:13 Who presented false evidence that members of Congress and US senators believed and voted for a war that resulted in the loss of lives of over 4000 of my brothers and sisters of uniform.
Chris Cuomo: 04:25 Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tulsi Gabbard: 04:26 The very first thing I did, every single day when I served in Iraq in that field medical unit during the height of that war in 2005 was go through a list name by name of every American casualty and injury that had occurred in the previous 24 hours.
Tulsi Gabbard: 04:41 I know the cost of war in a way that none of those other people on that stage last night can understand, so yes, I will always ask the tough questions. I will ask for the evidence. And as we’re seeing, evidence is constantly coming through. It’s our responsibility as lawmakers and as leaders in this country to make sure that our US military is not being activated and deployed to go to war unless we are certain, A: that it serves the best interest of the American people, and B: that that action will actually have a positive impact.
Chris Cuomo: 05:15 True. That’s why we argue on this show all the time-
Tulsi Gabbard: 05:16 The questions I’m raising are based on this experience that I’ve had-
Chris Cuomo: 05:19 I hear you.
Tulsi Gabbard: 05:19 … of making sure that we are doing the right thing.
Chris Cuomo: 05:20 I would argue that what’s on the website isn’t just raising questions, it’s speculating in a way that isn’t based by fact. But we’ve discussed that and I don’t want to spend all the time on it. And we argue on this show all the time that Congress needs to have more power on military action, not less.
Tulsi Gabbard: 05:29 Well let me just point you to two quick things on that.
Chris Cuomo: 05:33 Go ahead.
Tulsi Gabbard: 05:34 Can I point you to two quick things on that?
Chris Cuomo: 05:36 Absolutely.
Tulsi Gabbard: 05:36 There was a report that was recently sent out from the OPCW, the UN’s organization responsible for investigating incidents of chemical weapons attacks that brings into light a lot of different evidence that wasn’t previously reported. And secondly, there’s a professor from MIT who has also been an expert in missile attacks and chemical weapons who’s also shed a lot of light on this. What I’m saying is we’ve got to examine all of the evidence.
Chris Cuomo: 06:00 Well they’ve raised some questions about what [crosstalk 00:06:01] dynamic is there, nobody’s exonerating Assad. Let me ask you something else, Congresswoman. Why do you think Senator Harris didn’t have specific responses for you last night? And what do you think last night means to you going forward?
Tulsi Gabbard: 06:15 That’s a great question that I wish someone would ask Senator Harris, and asking her why she not only-
Chris Cuomo: 06:19 If she comes on the show, I’ll ask her. I promise, Congresswoman. As soon as she’s hear, it’ll be the first thing out of my mouth.
Tulsi Gabbard: 06:22 I believe that you will. I believe that you will, because she didn’t give any answers not just to me, but to the American people last night on that debate stage. And in the interviews that she had after the debate. She again refused to address this record that she had as Attorney General that she claims to be so proud of. A lot of concerns and a lot of issues raised there. This isn’t personal, it’s really about making sure that the American people have the truth because that’s what this process is all about. It’s about understanding how critical the decision is that’s before us and the kind of leadership that we seek to bring.
Chris Cuomo: 06:57 Do you think she has good answers to those questions?
Tulsi Gabbard: 07:01 If she has, she’s failed to present them. I think the fact that the answer she’s chosen to give has nothing to do… she will not address the concerns raised regarding her record that she’s said she’s proud of. Frankly that has caused more harm and more pain and suffering to people in California during that time, and how instead of using her position of power to be that force for positive change, to be a champion for the people that she claims to be, instead she used it to further oppress people in an already broken criminal justice system.
Tulsi Gabbard: 07:33 The only response that I’ve heard her and her campaign give is to push out smear attacks on me, claim that I am somehow some kind of foreign agent, or a traitor to my country, the country that I love, the country that I put my life on the line to serve, the country that I still serve today as a soldier in the Army National Guard.
Chris Cuomo: 07:54 I have seen what’s out there and what propaganda is being put out about what connections and who likes you and who’s trying to help you. I don’t give it any attention on the show because I don’t think it warrants it. But I will fight you on the facts-
Tulsi Gabbard: 08:04 Thank you.
Chris Cuomo: 08:04 And the invitation always stands. Please know this before anything else, this show thanks you for your service. We know what it means.
Tulsi Gabbard: 08:10 I appreciate that.
Chris Cuomo: 08:11 I know I didn’t have it in me to do what you did, and I appreciate it and I respect it and I respect your devotions to the others who are in uniform. So thank you Congresswoman, I look forward to seeing you again.