Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said Sen. Mitt Romney should apologize and resign after he accused her of being treasonous for repeating Russian claims about U.S. support of for a network of biological labs in Ukraine.
Ms. Gabbard, a four-term Democrat from Hawaii, said she was concerned about the safety of biological labs in a war-torn country like Ukraine, not whether the U.S. was involved in manufacturing chemical weapons there. She said all the parties involved in the conflict in Ukraine should declare a cease-fire until the labs are secured and any pathogens have been eliminated.
The controversy over the labs has been a new talking point for the Kremlin in the midst of the ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Chinese officials have also fanned the controversy, and Mr. Romney, a Utah Republican and former GOP candidate for president, this week called out Ms. Gabbard from amplifying the claims.
“Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives,” Mr. Romney said in a Twitter message.
On Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said claims by Russia that the U.S. had backed biological labs and chemical weapons in Ukraine were “absurd.”
“This is just another lie,” Mr. Stoltenberg told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels. “We are concerned that Russia could stage a false-flag operation, possibly involving chemical weapons.”
But Ms. Gabbard said the Russian charges merited further investigation.
“We must take action now to prevent disaster,” Ms. Gabbard said. “The danger of pathogens being released from biolabs in Ukraine is very real, and we need to take action immediately to prevent an impending catastrophe.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Republican from Illinois, also blasted the comments from Ms. Gabbard, who briefly ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, accusing her of spreading “actual Russian propaganda.”
Since leaving Congress in January 2021, Ms. Gabbard has hosted a podcast in which she has openly criticized former Democratic colleagues in Congress.
• Mike Glenn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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