Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) departed from Damascus on Wednesday after traveling to the Middle East on an undisclosed “fact-finding trip” intended to help end Syria’s nearly six-year conflict.
Gabbard’s office did not provide advanced warning to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) regarding the trip to Syria despite standard practice.
Earlier this month, Gabbard introduced legislation that would bar the federal government from providing funding and weapons to Sunni rebel groups working to overthrow the Assad regime. Upon announcing the Stop Arming Terrorist Act, Gabbard charged the U.S. government of “quietly supporting” allies of al Qaeda and ISIS with “weapons and intelligence support.”
Gabbard met with Trump in November, where they discussed “current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS,” according to a statement from her office.
Tulsi Gabbard leaves questions marks over Bashar Assad meeting during secret Syria trip
Democrat Tulsi Gabbard visited Damascus in a move her office described as a “fact-finding trip…to promote and work for peace,” amid claims she met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Hawaii congresswoman Gabbard, who has been outspoken in her criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the Syrian crisis, will not release details of her trip until she returns, her office said.
According to The Washington Post, Gabbard’s office cited security reasons for refusing to reveal whether she met with Assad. “She felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and groups including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees and government and community leaders,” Gabbard’s spokeswoman, Emily Latimer said in a statement.
Latimer added that the trip was not funded by taxpayers and it was approved but the House Ethics Committee. She did not, however, give the customary advanced warning to Democratic or Republican leadership offices, staffers said. It is not clear when Gabbard will be returning to the US from the trip.
Ben Swann also telling the truth about Syria.
In her November meeting with Trump, Gabbard said the two discussed legislation she is pushing that would end what she described as “our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government.”
Trump asked for the meeting, Gabbard said then, to discuss Syria, the fight to defeat the Islamic State group and al-Qaida, and other foreign policy issues.
Gabbard, who backed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary, said she accepted the meeting with Trump over concern that a wing of the Republican Party known as the neocons will grow in influence once Trump takes office in January. She said that could push the U.S. more deeply into Syria, where the war now in its sixth year has killed as many as a half-million people.