Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic presidential candidate, disputed an article saying she had the support of "Putin apologists" and "fake news," in an interview Sunday with ABC's "This Week."
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You said we have to end the new Cold War and you have taken a notably softer line on Vladimir Putin and Russia than some other Democrats and Republicans, want to put up a headline from the Daily Beast this week that said "Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign is being boosted by Putin apologists." And, you know, in the past, you met with Assad, you defended Russian military operations in Syria, you opposed the arrest of Julian Assange, suggested that Russian election meddling is no worse than America’s historically.
Do you believe that Vladimir Putin is a threat to U.S. national security?
REP. TULSI GABBARD: You know, it’s unfortunate that you’re citing that article, George, because it’s a whole lot of fake news. What I am focused on is what is in the best interest of the American people, what is in the best interest of our national security, keeping the American people safe. And what I’m pointing out consistently, time and time again, is that our continued wasteful regime change wars have been counterproductive to the interests of the American people and the approach that this administration has taken in essentially choosing conflict rather than seeing how we can cooperate and work out our differences with other countries in the world has been counterproductive to our national security.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, many Democrats have been tougher on Vladimir Putin than President Trump. Do you think Democrats are taking too hard a line?
GABBARD: I think that the escalation of tensions that we’ve seen between the United States and nuclear-armed countries like Russia and China, and you’re right, it has come from this administration, it’s also come from some Democrats and Republicans in Congress. It has brought us to this very dangerous point where nuclear strategists point out that we are at a greater risk of nuclear war now than ever before in history and we’ve got to understand what the consequences of that are.
It’s something that we in Hawaii know all too well with the wakeup call that we had a year – a little over a year ago when we got a text alert over a million cell phones across our state saying that a ballistic missile was incoming, seek shelter immediately, this is not a drill. This was terrifying for people all across our state because there was no shelter. And even though that turned out to be a false alarm, it points to the very real threat we face if we continue to go down this path of this new Cold War, ever-escalating tensions, and a nuclear arms race.
And this is what I seek to change; to build relationships that are built on cooperation rather than conflict, deescalate these tensions, work out the differences that we have, the problems that we have with other countries and also recognize that in examples like denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. We’ve got to be able to work with countries like Russia and China to be able to accomplish that objective to keep the American people safe.