Donald Trump’s feverish tweeting appears to be contagious. Amid a chorus of praise for the administration’s cruise-missile strike on a Syrian air base last week, Neera Tanden, the head of the Center for American Progress, dashed off a tweet calling on voters in Hawaii to oust Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard for expressing skepticism about the Syrian government’s responsibility for the chemical attack that provoked the US military strikes. Former presidential candidate and former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean piled on, and tweeted that Gabbard’s comments were a “disgrace” and that she “should not be in the Congress.”
People of Hawaii’s 2nd district – was it not enough for you that your rep met with a murderous dictator? Will this move you? https://t.co/jbwGuZIJ6R
—Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) April 7, 2017
This is a disgrace. Gabbard should not be in Congress. https://t.co/yDTh43GZam
—Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) April 9, 2017
Gabbard had good reason to ask for proof. By his own account, Trump struck rapidly after seeing gruesome televised pictures of dying babies. No time was allowed for an independent investigation into the source of the chemical-weapons attack. No presentation was made to the United Nations or the Congress asking for permission to use force. Trump flipped his own policy on its head overnight, and began lobbing missiles.
Here’s what Gabbard said: “This administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the United States attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning.” Gabbard added she would support Assad’s prosecution and execution as a war criminal if the attacks were proven, though she still wouldn’t support military action. “A successful prosecution of Assad (at the International Criminal Court) will require collection of evidence from the scene of the incident, and I support the United Nation’s efforts in this regard. Without such evidence, a successful prosecution is impossible,” she said.
But Tanden and Dean apparently agreed with Trump’s quick conclusion that “There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons.” So did much of the mainstream media and foreign-policy establishment.