Trump in talks with Tulsi Gabbard about future of Defense Department

Former President Donald Trump has been discussing the future of the Defense Department with former Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, as he plots the future of the branch should he return to the White House.

Trump, who went through multiple National Security and Defense advisers in his first term, met with Gabbard at least once in person last year, a source familiar with the conversations told the Washington Post. 

Gabbard, previously a Democrat, has become a vocal critic of sending resources to Ukraine in its war with Russia. She has faced criticism from both parties over her isolationist approach to foreign policy but has gained popularity among Trump supporters. 

“She appeals to Republicans who are skeptical of intervention overseas, which is now a majority of Republican voters,” Republican strategist Andrew Surabian said.

Trump has claimed that one of his biggest mistakes as president was not choosing good defense and foreign policy leaders. Trump said that this time, he would select leaders who share his views. Gabbard, who left the Democratic Party in 2022, has not publicly commented on the discussions, but she often agrees with Trump’s approaches.

National Security experts have warned that a Trump presidency could be damaging to pre-existing alliances, including with countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Trump has threatened to pull resources to Ukraine if NATO does not step up its donations to the war-torn country.

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“He sees these treaties and partnerships as transactional relationships, and he is constantly looking at the ledger and saying, ‘Is this a good deal or this a bad deal?’” a former senior Trump official said. “He views America’s forces abroad, and America’s protection, as a service to be paid for.”

Trump has also clashed with senior officials on the role of the national guard in domestic issues, and whether to pull U.S. troops out of Germany, and South Korea, despite the fact that the latter could be invaded by North Korea.


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