Former Democratic presidential candidate Tusli Gabbard drew attention to what she claimed were United States-backed biolabs in Ukraine and evidently drew the ire of Sen. Mitt Romney.
The Utah Republican called out the former Hawaii congresswoman’s “treasonous lies” in a tweet on Sunday, seeming to react to a video message she had posted and accusing her of “parroting false Russian propaganda.”
However, the failed 2012 GOP presidential nominee who also served as governor of Massachusetts got plenty of criticism on Twitter for his explosive reaction to Gabbard.
“Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda,” Romney tweeted. “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
Though he did not specifically note what had triggered his attack, the timing of the tweet was soon after Gabbard had posted a video alleging there are “25 to 30 U.S. funded bio labs in Ukraine.”
“According to the U.S government, these bio labs are conducting research on dangerous pathogens,” the former 2020 presidential candidate had said in the video. “These pathogens know no borders, if they are inadvertently or purposely breached or compromised, they will quickly spread all throughout Europe, the United States and the rest of the world causing untold suffering and death.”
And while both the U.S. and Ukraine have denied the existence of any bioweapons facilities in the eastern European nation now being invaded by Russia, Gabbard asserted “these labs need to be shut down immediately and the pathogens that they hold need to be destroyed.”
She also noted that “this is not a partisan political issue.”
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
White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the claims being made last week in a series of tweets.
“We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged U.S. biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine. We’ve also seen Chinese officials echo these conspiracy theories,” she wrote.
“This is preposterous. It’s the kind of disinformation operation we’ve seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years in Ukraine and in other countries, which have been debunked, and an example of the types of false pretexts we have been warning the Russians would invent,” she added.
Last week, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland had responded to a question about the labs during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that “Ukraine has biological research facilities,” and she was worried that “Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of” them.
As the debate rages on over the existence of the labs, Romney’s attack on Gabbard sparked severe backlash against the senator who was one of seven Republicans who voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial.
Many torched Romney over his choice of words in essentially accusing of treason a former member of Congress, war veteran, and currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.
“The extent to which politicians causally throw around accusations of ‘treason’ based on political rhetoric is the extent to which the regime is broken beyond repair,” political commentator David Reaboi said in a series of tweets on Sunday.
“I’d like @MittRomney —a politician I (regrettably) maxed-out donating to in 2012—to walk us through exactly how anything @TulsiGabbard says about Russia and Ukraine would constitute ‘treason.’ We are not at war with Russia; even if we were, does the USG control the speech of every American as it relates to the conflict?” he added.
“Will there be a fact sheet from which we cannot deviate? What constitutes ‘treasonous’ speech, aside from ‘I support the enemy’? If the so-called ‘treasonous’ speech is more subtle than that, where’s the line exactly? These people are craven, low IQ hysterics. Their continued presence in public life makes people despise the whole regime, and with good reason,” Reaboi concluded.
Romney was buried under the pile-on.
“Treason”? Seriously? Get a grip.
— Christina Pushaw 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) March 13, 2022
That’s LTC Gabbard to you. I don’t need to hear one damn word from anyone in your non-serving family about patriotism.
And I don’t even agree with her, but at least she and I served – unlike you and your entire family of free riders – and we’ll both say whatever we want. Jerk. https://t.co/G5dXBzhBvu
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) March 13, 2022
— Ted Howze DVM (@Ted_Howze) March 13, 2022
Gabbard’s misinformation is pernicious, but it is not treason. We should not throw around such terms or criminalize political speech. https://t.co/PCp74YYbSk
— Brendan Nyhan (@BrendanNyhan) March 13, 2022
— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) March 13, 2022
The bar for “treason” keeps dropping. Beginning to think the uniparty doesn’t hate Putin — they want to emulate his speech codes. https://t.co/f8bGKqN0R0
— Jon Gabriel (@exjon) March 13, 2022
Mitt is just mad conservatives like Tulsi more than they like him 😂
— Errol Webber (@ErrolWebber) March 13, 2022
Dear Utah, upgrade your Senator please. He’s a pathetic idiot. https://t.co/jJ1ZERtJ5b
— Ned Ryun (@nedryun) March 13, 2022
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