Tulsi Gabbard Sends Mitt Romney Cease and Desist Over Treason Accusation

Former Representative Tulsi Gabbard has sent a cease and desist letter to Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) over a March tweet that accused her of "treasonous lies."

Gabbard, who was also a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, shared the letter publicly on Twitter and also spoke to Fox News host Tucker Carlson about the matter on Wednesday.

The letter from Gabbard's attorneys accused Romney of "false and defamatory statements" and urged the senator to enter into a settlement with Gabbard before litigation begins.

On March 13, Romney had tweeted: "Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives."

Though he didn't offer specifics, it appeared at the time that Romney was referring to comments Gabbard had made about biolabs in Ukraine.

Composite Image Shows Gabbard and Romney
A composite image shows former Representative Tulsi Gabbard (L) and Senator Mitt Romney (R). Gabbard's attorneys have sent a cease and desist letter to Romney. Getty Images

She had told Tucker Carlson in March that she was "deeply concerned" about the issue and released a video on Twitter where she said there were more than 25 "US-funded biolabs in Ukraine which if breached would release & spread deadly pathogens."

The letter from Gabbard's attorneys appeared to acknowledge that Romney was likely referring to her comments about biolabs in his March tweet. Her attorneys defended the remarks, saying she had not lied.

"While your tweet lacked any context, we surmise that your tweet was made in reference to a video Representative Gabbard published on Twitter that same day," the cease and desist letter said.

"In her video, Representative Gabbard called for a ceasefire in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine so that any biological laboratories in Ukraine could be secured," the letter said.

The letter went on to say that Gabbard's March 13 video was "factually accurate" and cited testimony that Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland gave to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on March 8, which Romney attended.

Ukrainian biolabs have been at the center of an unfounded conspiracy theory that claimed the Biden administration was funding biological weapons labs in the country.

The U.S. has funded biolabs in Ukraine but not the development of biological weapons. Claims about U.S. funding for bioweapons in Ukraine have been promoted by Russian state media amid the country's ongoing invasion of its neighbor.

Gabbard, who represented Hawaii's 2nd district from 2013 to 2021, did not claim that the U.S. was funding bioweapons labs in Ukraine in her March 13 video.

She also said that biolabs, biological weapons labs and bioweapons were "very different things" in a subsequent tweet on March 14 and wrote that "there is sometimes miscommunication and misunderstanding when discussing them."

Her attorneys also stressed in their letter that she is loyal to the U.S. and said it was "outrageous" for Romney to use the word "treasonous."

"Representative Gabbard's loyalty to the United States is beyond reproach. You knew your claims of treason were false, or, at a minimum, you made your claims of treason with reckless disregard for the truth," they wrote.

The cease and desist letter demanded that Romney "retract/takedown all such statements you have made about Representative Gabbard and destroy all copies of those statements" and demanded that the senator enter into a settlement and release agreement with Gabbard if he wishes to avoid a possible court case.

Such a settlement would include a "retraction and apology, and other terms to be mutually negotiated." Romney has until April 27 to respond to Gabbard's demands or potentially face litigation.

Her attorneys have issued a similar cease and desist letter to political commentator Keith Olbermann, who called Gabbard a "Russian Asset."

Gabbard told Carlson on Wednesday that she is still serving in the U.S. Army Reserves and pointed to the fact she took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution when she entered the military 19 years ago.

"When powerful and influential people basically threaten and intimidate people into silence as Mitt Romney, Keith Olbermann and others are doing, they're hoping to achieve that effect that if anybody dares speak out against the government, that if anybody dares to criticize whatever the permanent Washington establishment's narrative is, then you will be smeared as a traitor—as a treasonous traitor," Gabbard said.

Gabbard had previously called for Romney to resign from the Senate after his March 13 tweet.

Newsweek has asked Tulsi Gabbard's attorneys and Mitt Romney's office for comment.