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Trump Praises Democrat: 'I Give Her a Lot of Respect'

He says Rep. Tulsi Gabbard knew the impeachment 'was wrong'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2019 1:00 PM CST
Trump Has Praise for Democratic Candidate
President Donald Trump speaks at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in West Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

(Newser) – President Trump showed some props Saturday to, of all people, a Democrat—but one who didn't vote to impeach him, USA Today reports. "I give her respect," Trump said of presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at an event in West Palm Beach, Fla. "She didn't vote the other day. I give her a lot of respect. Because she knew it was wrong. She took a pass." Per Mediate, Trump also touched on recent remarks by Hillary Clinton about Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and a certain "somebody" in the Democratic primary. Now, it gets complicated:

  • More Trump: In Trump's words, "Crooked Hillary came out, she said that Jill Stein from the Green Party, she said Jill Stein was a Russian agent. Now, I don't know Jill Stein, I'm sure she's a fine woman. But I know she's not a Russian agent."
  • Even more: "Then [Clinton] said Tulsi Gabbard is a weapon of Russia," Trump added. "And they lost all credibility because you know that Tulsi Gabbard. ... I don't know, but I know one thing. She is not an agent of Russia."

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  • Clinton quote: As for Clinton's podcast interview in October (in full here, relevant part around 35:00), she didn't actually say Russians are grooming Gabbard, per the Washington Post. She did say Republicans will support a third-party bid to hurt Democrats and are "grooming" a female "somebody ... in the Democratic primary" for the job.
  • Misquoted: Gabbard then misquoted Clinton in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, saying Clinton "emerged recently to claim, with no basis in fact, that I am being 'groomed' by the Russian government to undermine America."
  • Russians: Clinton did say, however, that the unnamed Democrat "is a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. And, that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she's a Russian asset. Totally."
  • Really Gabbard? Pressed about whether Clinton was referring to Gabbard, a Clinton spokesman told CNN in October, "If the nesting doll fits." Around the same time, Stein denied the Russian connection, telling CNN that "I am not a Russian spy."
  • Credible? A Senate Intelligence Committee probe found that Russian Internet operatives are messaging support for Stein, CNN reports. And last month, the New York Times found much excitement about Gabbard among Russian state-media reporters and conservative Internet pundits.
(Read more Tulsi Gabbard stories.)

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