Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said on CNN today that she met with President Bashar Assad during a recent trip to Syria, an admission that is certain to land her in political hot water in Washington.
“Whatever you think about President Assad, the fact is, he is the president of Syria,” Gabbard, a Democrat, said on CNN’s “The Lead,” to Jake Tapper. “In order for any peace agreement, in order for any possible viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him. The Syrian people will determine his outcome and what happens with their government and their future.”
The American government does not have diplomatic relations with Syria. And Gabbard, a member of the House minority, has limited influence when it comes to American foreign policy. She is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, but is a relatively junior member of Congress — she’s 277th in seniority. Her attempted peacemaking with the Assad regime is not likely to go far.
Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did not know about the trip in advance. Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services (AACCESS)–Ohio paid for the trip, Gabbard said. She had to get the trip cleared before leaving, and has to file another detailed report about the costs upon return.