Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmm

Did this Democratic congresswoman meet with Assad during her secret trip to Syria?

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) recently returned from a "fact finding" trip to Syria, and her spokeswoman will not definitively confirm if Gabbard did or did not meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Policy reports.

Gabbard is an outspoken dissenter from President Barack Obama on the matter of Syria, opposing U.S. efforts for a regime change by stating that the region will become more unstable and dangerous if Assad is removed from power. Gabbard "felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and groups including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees, and government and community leaders," said her spokeswoman, Emily Latimer. When asked directly if Gabbard met Assad, Latimer declined to comment "citing security and logistical concerns."

Foreign Policy notes that Gabbard's trip is "exceedingly rare" for a representative. Gabbard is a veteran of the Iraq War and has found receptive audiences in the incoming administration, including earning a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss Syria and the fight against al Qaeda and the Islamic State.