Tulsi Gabbard Defends Fox News Appearances After Kamala Harris Debate Spat

Representative Tulsi Gabbard has defended her willingness to appear on Fox News, saying other candidates could not expect to lead all Americans while "disrespecting" half the country and treating them like "garbage."

The Democratic primary candidate told The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on Tuesday that her 2020 rivals were "dismissing" millions of Fox News viewers and suggested that Senator Kamala Harris' criticism of her appearances on the network was an example of "cancel culture."

She also took a dig at the 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, arguing that a would-be president could never "win support from people... who you call deplorables."

Gabbard's defence of her appearances on Fox News, particularly the Tucker Carlson Tonight show, followed a clash between the Hawaii representative and rival 2020 candidate Harris at the fifth Democratic debate in Atlanta, Georgia, last week.

Tulsi Gabbard
Democratic Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard visits "FOX & Friends" at Fox News Channel Studios on September 24, 2019 in New York City. Slaven Vlasic/Getty

Harris hit out at Gabbard for spending "four years full-time on Fox News criticizing President Obama" and alleged that Gabbard had "buddied up with Steve Bannon to get a meeting with Donald Trump in the Trump Tower."

Gabbard responded by accusing Harris of trafficking in "lies and smears and innuendoes" and suggested the senator would "continue the status quo" if elected president.

Speaking to Joe Rogan on Tuesday, Gabbard criticized other candidates for only talking to "the most radical and extreme" Democrats during the primary while promising to "flip the script" after sealing the nomination.

"I'll go on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and I'm delivering the exact same message to people," she added. "We're building and growing support in people who watch those three different channels and actually listen like, 'Hey, she makes sense.'"

After Rogan said he was "stunned" by the criticism Gabbard received over her choice to make appearances on the right-leaning Fox News, Gabbard took aim at perceived "cancel culture" during the Democratic primary debate.

"I was attacked on the debate stage for going on Fox News," she said. "How do you think you're going to lead this country, all Americans, if you're not only shutting out and not willing to talk to half the country that watches Fox News, but you're in fact disrespecting and dismissing them just because they may disagree with your or watch a different news channel?"

Gabbard added: "There's a political consequence. You're never going to be able to... win support from people who you treat like garbage, who you disrespect, who you call names, who you call deplorables.

"How do you expect to lead as the president of every single American in this country when you've thrown half of them away, saying you know what, I actually don't care about you?"

The Hawaii representative's dig at Hillary Clinton's infamous "deplorables" remark was not the only thing she had to say about the former first lady during Joe Rogan's Tuesday podcast.

Referring to Clinton's claim that she was a "Russian asset," Gabbard told the comedian that she had been allowed to "get away with" making the claim "without any evidence or base whatsoever."

A feud between Gabbard and Clinton began in October after the former Secretary of State suggested to strategist David Plouffe on his Campaign HQ podcast that the Hawaii politician and the Green Party's 2016 candidate Jill Stein were "Russian assets."

Responding to the unsubstantiated claim, Gabbard dubbed Clinton the "queen of warmongers" and the "personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party."

The latest Democratic primary polling average by Real Clear Politics does not give Gabbard great odds of winning the presidency. She is in 11th place in a crowded field of candidates with backing from just 1.3 percent of Democrat supporters.