Russia state TV calls Gabbard ‘our friend Tulsi’ as Tucker Carlson interview aired

Russian state TV has continued to air Fox News clips that align with Vladimir Putin’s spin on the invasion of Ukraine, most recently showing a Tucker Carlson interview with former Democratic US Representative Tulsi Gabbard, whom the Russian host introduced as “our friend”.

“Let me put on the Americans, let’s show what Tulsi, our friend, is saying,” presenter Vladimir Soloviev, a pro-Putin journalist often labeled a propagandist, says in Russian before airing a portion of the Fox interview, according to a translation by The Independent staff.

In the conversation, from Monday’s broadcast of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the former congresswoman from Hawai’i echoed the Russian president and says that the Biden administration is seeking regime change in Russia through “economic warfare.”

“They are doing so by waging this modern-day siege against Russia, isolating, containing, destroying their economy, starving the Russian people in the hope that the Russian people or the military will rise up and revolt and overthrow their government and get rid of Putin,” Ms Gabbard says in the clip.

After airing part of the Fox interview, another panelist on the state TV show asks, “Is she some kind of Russian agent?” and in the crosstalk that follows a man can be heard saying, “Yeah, it’s interesting,” though it’s unclear if the panelist is referring to the question or to the interview with Ms Gabbard as a whole.

According to another translation of the state TV exchange, by Daily Beast columnist and Russian media analyst Julia Davis, the presenter refers to the former rep as “our girlfriend Tulsi.”

Elsewhere in the Tucker interview, Ms Gabbard elaborated on her position.

"The reason why they are lying about this to the American people, is, they know we are sick and tired of our country waging regime change wars. We remember how costly and devastating these wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria have been. And we rejected them wholeheartedly," she said. "So if they were to come out and tell the truth, their polls would tank even more than they already are, and their politics would suffer."

Her comments are in reference to a speech the president gave in Poland on Saturday, where he said, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” in reference to Putin.

Mr Biden has since clarified that, "I was expressing my outrage. He shouldn’t remain in power, just like bad people shouldn’t continue to do bad things. But it doesn’t mean we have a fundamental policy to do anything to take Putin down in any way.”

It’s not the first time Tulsi Gabbard has echoed Kremlin talking points.

In February, she wrote on Twitter that, “This war and suffering could have easily been avoided if Biden Admin/NATO had simply acknowledged Russia’s legitimate security concerns regarding Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO, which would mean US/NATO forces right on Russia’s border.”

The following month, she released a series of videos online about US-funded labs in Ukraine, which Putin has claimed without evidence are developing bioweapons.

The Independent has reached out to Tulsi Gabbard for comment. In 2019, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insinuated that Ms Gabbard was a Russian “asset,” which she vehemently denied.

“I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and they’re grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Ms Clinton said on a podcast. “She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up because she’s also a Russian asset.”

The former congresswoman filed then dropped a defamation lawsuit against Ms Clinton.

Fox News content has repeatedly appeared on Russian state TV, owing to the skepticism of the US involvement in the Ukrainian defence effort from hosts like Tucker Carlson, whom Russian officials deemed an “essential” backer in the media according to a leaked Kremlin memo.

Additional reporting by Katya Bandouil