[NOTE: After this story went live Rep. Gabbard’s office released an official statement on her meeting with Trump, so this story has been updated accordingly.]
Given our Nov. 18 story about how Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D–Hawaii, didn’t sign this letter from 169 of her Congressional colleagues denouncing President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of white nationalist Stephen Bannon, we can’t really say we’re surprised by the news that Gabbard met with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Spence this morning.
“Gabbard, who backed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, is being considered for jobs at the Defense Department, State Department and the United Nations, the source said,” according to this CNN report.
There still aren’t too many details about they all discussed at the meeting–just a lot of palace gossip and speculation.
“Gabbard met with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Monday morning, but Trump spokesman Jason Miller said it was ‘premature’ to discuss Gabbard’s potential role in the Trump administration,” reported McClatchyDC.
New York Times reporter Jeremy W. Peters tweeted that Gabbard “is under consideration for UN Ambassador, per senior Trump aide.”
This Reuters report included some interesting background on how Gabbard’s policy preferences mesh with Trump’s (as much as he has policy preferences, anyway):
Gabbard, the first Hindu member of the U.S. Congress, has veered from Democratic Party positions at times, backing policies cracking down on immigration to the United States by Muslims in particular.
In November 2015, she was one of a few dozen Democrats who joined Republicans to pass a bill mandating stronger screening process for refugees from Iraq and Syria seeking to enter the United States. In 2014, she called for a rollback of the visa waiver program for Britain, Germany, France and other European countries with what she called ‘Islamic extremist’ populations.
In any case, Gabbard’s office still hasn’t responded to our inquiries from Nov. 18 on the Bannon letter. She also didn’t comment for any of the above mentioned stories.
UPDATE: Rep. Gabbard’s office has released an official statement on her meeting with Trump. It says nothing about any possible job with the Trump Administration, the controversy over Bannon or where specifically she might “disagree” with Trump. Here’s her statement, in full:
“President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face. 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.
“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.
“Serving the people of Hawaiʻi and our nation is an honor and responsibility that I do not take lightly. Representing the aloha spirit and diversity of the people of Hawaiʻi, I will continue to seek common ground to deliver results that best serve all Americans, as I have tried to do during my time in Congress.
“Where I disagree with President-elect Trump on issues, I will not hesitate to express that disagreement. However, I believe we can disagree, even strongly, but still come together on issues that matter to the American people and affect their daily lives. We cannot allow continued divisiveness to destroy our country.
“President-elect Trump and I had a frank and positive conversation in which we discussed a variety of foreign policy issues in depth. 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 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.
“For years, the issue of ending interventionist, regime change warfare has been one of my top priorities. This was the major reason I ran for Congress—I saw firsthand the cost of war, and the lives lost due to the interventionist warmongering policies our country has pursued for far too long.
“Let me be clear, I will never allow partisanship to undermine our national security when the lives of countless people lay in the balance.”
Gabbard’s office still has not responded to our inquiries on why she didn’t sign the letter denouncing Bannon’s appointment.
Photo of Rep. Gabbard courtesy U.S. Congress