2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is publicly supporting a Russian conspiracy theory about the existence of U.S. biological laboratories in Ukraine.
The theory could be used as an excuse for Russia to use chemical or biological warfare in Ukraine.
Gabbard posted a video to Twitter on Sunday in which she declared that the US funds 25-30 bio-labs in Ukraine that are researching “dangerous pathogens” that could spread around the world if compromised or released in the midst of bombings taking place in the country.
She called for these labs to be shut down immediately, as well as a ceasefire to be called in their vicinity. She also accused the Biden-Harris Administration of trying to cover up their existence.
There are 25+ US-funded biolabs in Ukraine which if breached would release & spread deadly pathogens to US/world. We must take action now to prevent disaster. US/Russia/Ukraine/NATO/UN/EU must implement a ceasefire now around these labs until they’re secured & pathogens destroyed pic.twitter.com/dhDTH5smIG
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 13, 2022
Upon Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, the World Health Organization (WHO) did advise Ukraine to destroy “high-threat pathogens” in any of its public health laboratories, which it said have been supported by WHO, the United States, and the European Union.
These labs, however, are not secret, are owned and operated by Ukraine, and have nothing whatsoever to do with biological warfare. Instead, ABC News reports that they are part of a “Biological Threat Reduction Program” with the goal of preventing outbreaks of deadly disease.
But in a release from Reuters, WHO emphasized that Russia is falsely pushing the notion that the U.S. Defense Department is supporting biological weapons laboratories in the country.
Statements like Gabbard’s are playing right into the hands of the narrative the Russian government is trying to tell, and Russia could use this theory as a reason to begin using chemical and biological warfare against Ukraine.
The falsities have spread like wildfire among U.S. conspiracy theorists.
#Russia's state TV showcases clips of Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard, helping to perpetuate the myth of dangerous "bio-weapons" in Ukraine. This conspiracy theory is being spread by Russia's state TV with special zeal.#TuckyoRose pic.twitter.com/csMPrb0ncF
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) March 12, 2022
In response to Gabbard’s video, Sen. Mitt Romeny (R-UT) tweeted that she is “parroting false Russian propaganda” and that “Her treasonous lies may well cost lives.”
Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 13, 2022
While Gabbard did represent Hawaii as a Democrat and also ran for president as one, she has increasingly moved to the right.
Lately, she’s been touting deeply Republican rhetoric, blasting Biden for playing “identity politics” in his commitment to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court and calling critics of anti-LGBTQ conservative podcaster Joe Rogan “zealots of wokeism.”
Gabbard also has a long anti-LGBTQ past.
Before she was elected to Congress, she worked for one of her father’s anti-LGBTQ organizations, the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, which she later cited as a positive experience when she ran for the state legislature in 2002.
When asked about this, she said that she personally never supported conversion therapy and in early 2019 she made a video apologizing for her anti-LGBTQ past.
She said that her views had changed, but she was still accusing Democrats of “fomenting religious bigotry” for saying that Christian judges should not impose their religious beliefs on others.
During her presidential campaign, Gabbard refused to respond to an HRC questionnaire on LGBTQ issues, which all the other major Democratic candidates responded to.
And in December 2020, she introduced legislation that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports as their gender.