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Gabbard: US needs to ‘stop pretending’ Saudi Arabia is an ally

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) says one of her first acts as president would be to “stop pretending” that Saudi Arabia is an ally of the U.S.

“You can go down a laundry list of things that show that even as much as the policy establishment claims Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States and they’re battling terrorism and all of these things — they’re simply not true,” Gabbard told Hill.TV in an interview that aired on Friday.

“Their interests are not serving the interest of the American people,” she continued.

Gabbard accused Saudi Arabia of deliberately pushing the U.S. toward a war with Iran amid escalating tensions between the two nations.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest voices pushing this administration towards a war with Iran — that would be directly counter to the interests of the American people and purely for Saudi Arabia’s benefit,” she told Hill.TV.

The longshot candidate won praise for her breakout moment during the first night of this week’s Democratic presidential debates.

Gabbard drew attention for a heated exchange with Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) about U.S. involvement in the Middle East. Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, pushed back on Ryan’s claim that the Taliban was behind the 9/11 attacks. 

“The reality of it is if the United States is not engaged, the Taliban will grow. And we will have bigger, bolder terrorist acts, we have got to have some presence there,” Ryan said of needing a military presence in Afghanistan.