Gabbard was criticized by Democrats and Republicans after she posted a video in which she warned that 35-40 U.S.-funded facilities are working in Ukraine to study “deadly disease agents” that could cause pandemics or death.
Gabbard stated that these pathogens, like COVID have no borders. “If they are intentionally or inadvertently compromised or breached, they will spread quickly throughout Europe, the United States and the rest of the globe, causing untold suffering, death, and destruction.”
She said that the labs must be closed immediately and all pathogens found in them need to be eradicated.
Gabbard was then accused of echoing Russian propaganda and inadvertently accusing America of creating bioweapons for Ukraine by Sen. Mitt Romney – a charge that was advanced by the Kremlin after Vladimir Putin's invasion.
“Tulsi Gabbard is spreading false Russian propaganda.” The senator stated that her treasonous lies could well endanger lives.
Romney wasn't the only one to condemn Gabbard. Jon Cooper, ex-National Finance Chair of Draft Biden 2016, joined him in his condemnation. Jon Cooper said, “Who is the bigger TRAITOR-Tucker Carlson, or Tulsi Gabbard?”
Mark Hughes, a Forbes contributor and screenwriter said that Tulsi Gabbard was a traitor and a Russian agent who should be in military prison.
Gabbard responded by posting a long video Monday in defense of her statement. She claimed that U.S.-funded research facilities are “undeniable facts”.
“Senator Romney! You've called me a treasonous liar just for stating that over 25 US-funded biolabs are located in Ukraine. This, if compromised, could spread deadly pathogens throughout the United States and the globe. She stated that they must be secured in order to prevent new pandemics.
Gabbard called upon Romney to show evidence of her treason, or “do what is right” and apologize.
Gabbard cited recent comments from the U.S.
Nuland told Senator Marco Rubio (R–FL) that Ukraine has biological research facilities, which we are concerned Russian troops or Russian forces may be trying to take over. “So, we are working with Ukraine to prevent research materials falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach.”
Nuland stated that she had “no doubts” that Russia would be behind a Ukrainian biological attack. Gabbard also referenced a Pentagon factsheet dated March 11, which contained “numerous statements” that confirmed both directly and indirectly the existence of these bio laboratories.
She stated that the United States, through BTRP, has invested around $200 million in Ukraine over the past five years, which supports 46 Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and diagnostic sites.
Gabbard then showed a clip of David Martin, CBS' national security correspondent, saying that experts were concerned about the possibility of laboratories in Ukraine falling into Russian hands.
Martin stated that Russia is likely to seize one of the biomedical research centers that Ukraine has that conducts research on deadly pathogens such as botulism and anthrax. “Seize that facility, weaponize the pathogen, and then blame Ukraine and the US for it because they have been supporting some of the research done in those facilities.”
Newsweek noted that Gabbard didn't accuse the United States of making biological weapons in Ukraine.
Newsweek reported that “the World Health Organization advised Ukraine to destroy high threat pathogens in their laboratories to prevent an epidemic if they are attacked.”
The outlet stated that the U.S. and Ukraine had been cooperating since 2005 to study deadly pathogens in the Pentagon's Biological Threat Reduction Program. The U.S. Defense Department's partnership with the Ukraine Ministry of Health forms part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, (CTR). This program was established in 1991 to reduce the threat of weapons of destruction after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Gabbard was a member of a Hawaii Army National Guard field medical unit from 2004 to 2005, while she was deployed to Iraq. She also served as a leader for an Army Military Police platoon while stationed in Kuwait in 2008 to 2009. In 2020, Gabbard joined the Army Reserves and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
In the Vietnam War years, Romney was granted a deferment based on his work as a Mormon missionary to France. Romney's inability to serve became a campaign issue during the 2007 presidential election. He answered that his five sons, who had never served in the military before him, were helping him win by serving his country. He stated that one of the ways his sons show support for America is by helping him get elected. “They think I'd make a great president.”