Hillary Clinton "is taking my life away," Tulsi Gabbard tells Fox News host Tucker Carlson

"We will not allow that to go unchecked," the Democratic candidate for president told the right-leaning network

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 24, 2020 5:52PM (EST)

Tulsi Gabbard and Hilary Clinton (Erik Kabik Photography/MediaPunch/AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Tulsi Gabbard and Hilary Clinton (Erik Kabik Photography/MediaPunch/AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday night that she filed a lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, because the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee's purported claim that she is a Russian asset "is taking my life away."

"This is about my life, you know?" Gabbard told Carlson. "For so many people in the media, they are saying, 'Oh, well you know, this is just another news story.' But this is my life that we're talking about here. For me, as a soldier, as every service member does, I took an oath of loyalty to our country — the country that I love. Willing to put my life on the line for our country, deploying twice to the Middle East to do so, still serving in uniform in the Army National Guard today for almost 17 years. The essence of this service this love of country is who I am."

She added, "So when you have someone as powerful as Hillary Clinton seeking to smear my reputation, essentially implying that I'm a traitor to the country that I love what she essentially is doing is taking my life away. So what this lawsuit is about is actually valuing the honor, and the loyalty and integrity that every one of our service members embodies and saying that no can try to defame them. We will not allow that to go unchecked."

During a podcast interview in November with former Obama adviser David Plouffe, Clinton described a candidate, who she did not identify by name, as "the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites, and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that's assuming [former Green Party presidential candidate] Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she's also a Russian asset. Yeah, she's a Russian asset, I mean totally."

Because Clinton had earlier referred to the Democratic candidate in question as someone that the Republican Party had "their eye on," many assumed that she was referring to Gabbard. Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill seemed to confirm this when, after being asked if Clinton's comments were a reference to Gabbard, he responded "if the nesting doll fits." A nesting doll, or Matryoshka doll, is an iconic toy from Russia.

Gabbard responded to Clinton's comments earlier this week by filing a lawsuit, alleging that "Clinton's false assertions were made in a deliberate attempt to derail Tulsi's campaign" and claiming that she suffered "actual damages" of "$50 million — and counting" as a result.

Prior to filing the lawsuit, Gabbard had replied to Clinton's remarks by saying that the former secretary of state was "queen of the warmongers" and an "embodiment of corruption." She also claimed that Clinton was undertaking a "concerted campaign to destroy my reputation" and added that "it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It's now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don't cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly."

When asked by Carlson on Thursday night, Gabbard said that she did not know if Clinton plans to run for president in 2020. Fox News has frequently speculated that Clinton will run for president this year, though there are no reliable reports indicating that she will do so

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Cable News Election 2020 Fox News Hillary Clinton Politics Tucker Carlson Tulsi Gabbard