The devastation and the cost of a conflict with Iran would be far greater than anything we've experienced so far in Iraq, Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard told FOX News host Shannon Bream Thursday night.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Tonight, the president insists he is the sole decision-maker at the White House as reports of friction inside the administration percolate. So, is there some sort of intervention in Iran on the horizon?
We discuss it all with tonight’s special guest, Hawaii congresswoman and 2020 presidential contender, Democrat Tulsi Gabbard.
Nice to have you with us tonight.
REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Shannon. Great to be here.
BREAM: OK. So, let's talk about "The Wall Street Journal" quoting a senior defense official says, this is a case were credible intelligence that drove measured, appropriate operations.
We know that some lawmakers have been briefed. There’s a push for all of you to be briefed next week. Are you confident that the administration is taking measures in line with what they actually know?
GABBARD: I'm looking forward to getting that briefing. I can tell you as a soldier, I served in the Army National Guard. I’ve been serving for over 16 years. I've deployed twice to the Middle East, and in Congress, I've served over six years on both the House Foreign Affairs and the Armed Services Committees.
And I know two things very well. First is the high human cost of war. You know, these wars across the Middle East and Iraq. Thousands of my brothers and sisters in uniform lost their lives, many more injured.
And I also know the cost on the American people. You know, the trillions of dollars that we’ve spent since 9/11 alone on waging these wasteful regime-change wars, how those wars have undermined our national security and how they have strengthened terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda.
So, when we talk about a potential war with Iran, which is looking like we are walking very dangerously down that path, what I think is important for the American people to know is that a war with Iran would make the war in Iraq look like a cakewalk. The devastation and the cost would be far greater that anything we have ever experienced before.
BREAM: So, the president was asked point-blank, are we heading to war with Iran, he says, I hope not.
BREAM: Secretary Pompeo said that's absolutely the opposite of what we want.
And so, there's a lot of talk about the fact that the president has been telling his aides I don't want this to escalate. This is absolutely not something we want to get into.
You know during the campaign, he talked all the time about getting us out of places.
GABBARD: That’s right.
BREAM: He does not want to be somebody who gets into foreign incursions that we don't need to.
But today, this is what Senator Rubio says on the Senate floor. He described the situation as serious and potentially imminent threat to U.S. forces and said the Trump administration is right to reposition military assets and be in a position to retaliate should Iran lash out at U.S. interests in Iraq or the Middle East.
So, knowing that the president was dead set against these kinds of things, does it convince you know that he’d seen something significant to change his mind?
GABBARD: I think I would -- I would look at two things. First of all, as a soldier, I understand the need for us to be prepared and I understand the need for us to keep the American people safe, to put our national security at the forefront.
What’s concerning to me is that while Trump and others in his administration are saying that they don't want to go to war with Iran, I hear them saying that more now they're getting a lot of pushback from our allies like those in the U.K., when in fact the actions that the administration has been taking are speaking -- are telling us another story, it's actually pushing us closer and closer to the prospect of a war with Iran.
This is what I'm very concerned about because I know that that cost on our troops and on the American people, on civilians across the Middle East and the region, creating more refugees, creating more instability in Europe -- I mean, the cost would be very great. They have not presented that evidence to Congress yet.
BREAM: And you’ll get a briefing next week.
GABBARD: So, we look forward to getting that information.