On Sunday, the world’s largest oil refinery in Saudi Arabia was the target of a drone attack, impacting as much as 5% of the world’s crude oil. The Houthi movement — a rebel group closely tied to Iran — took credit for the attack. Although Iran’s government denies responsibility, many believe they are behind the Houthi’s attack.
Not only did the attack cause gas prices to skyrocket throughout the world, but it also took tensions in the Middle East to a new level.
In response to the attack, President Trump claimed that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” if retaliation is necessary, but seemed to say that he was waiting on direction from the Saudi government.
Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
Gabbard — who made opposition to war in the Middle East a cornerstone of her 2020 presidential bid — called out Trump for waiting on information from the Saudi’s. The congresswoman didn’t pull any punches in her tweet, claiming that President Trump was acting as “Saudi Arabia’s bitch.”
Trump awaits instructions from his Saudi masters. Having our country act as Saudi Arabia's bitch is not "America First." https://t.co/kJOCpqwaQS
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) September 16, 2019
Gabbard was not the only one to criticize Trump’s response. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) also has a viral tweet questioning the president for allowing the Saudis to “dictate terms of war and peace” for the U.S.
NO @realDonaldTrump. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not dictate the terms of war and peace for us. The American people and Congress do. You do not have the power to declare war.
Oh, and you promised to get America out of endless wars in the Middle East. Remember? https://t.co/D6RPF4uivJ
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 16, 2019
While Gabbard may have strong feelings against the Saudis, it didn’t take long for many critics to highlight that the congresswoman has close ties to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) mocked Gabbard’s use of a “naughty word” and claimed the 2020 candidate is a puppet of Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Oh you’re tough! Used a naughty word! Did your master Assad/Putin write that? https://t.co/8GsBTxqWQn
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) September 16, 2019
Gabbard’s ties to Assad have been one of the biggest criticisms of her presidential bid, though she argues that it is good to meet with anyone so long as it keeps Americans safe.
The congresswoman has been polling in the bottom half of the 20 Democrats running for president and has been a vocal critic of the Democratic National Committee’s handling of the debate process, as she did not qualify for last week’s event in Houston.