- The Washington Times - Monday, November 21, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump’s first meeting Monday was with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat known for bucking her party and challenging President Obama on confronting radical Islamic terrorism.

Ms. Gabbard, an Army veteran who serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, is believed to be under consideration for a post at the Defense Department, State Department or the United Nations.

She wasn’t the first Democrat to sit across the interview desk from Mr. Trump as he puts together his administration.

The president-elect met Sunday with former D.C. public schools chief Michelle Rhee, a Democrat who is in the running for education secretary.

Ms. Gabbard, the first Hindu member of Congress, ruffled feathers in her party when during the presidential campaign she quit the Democratic National Committee to support Sen. Bernard Sanders and oppose Hillary Clinton, the eventual nominee.

She also has called out Mr. Obama for refusing to say “radical Islamic terrorism,” which was also a frequent criticism from Mr. Trump on the campaign trail.

After the meeting, Ms. Gabbard released a statement saying that Mr. Trump brought her in to discuss policies regarding Syria and fighting terror groups such as the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

She said that she argued against interventionist policies and wanted to make her views known “before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.”

“While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives,” she said.

Mr. Trump also has spoken against interventionist policies, including opposition to the Iraq war.

Ms. Gabbard described the exchange as a “frank and positive conversation.”

“For years, the issue of ending interventionist, regime change warfare has been one of my top priorities,” she said. “This was the major reason I ran for Congress — I saw firsthand the cost of war, and the lives lost due to the interventionist warmongering policies our country has pursued for far too long.

“Let me be clear: I will never allow partisanship to undermine our national security when the lives of countless people lay in the balance,” Ms. Gabbard said.


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