Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, on Friday said that after meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week she believes he is open to finding common ground or even creating an alliance with President Trump.

“I think he [Assad] is looking for what our new president would see as a shared interest with him – with Syria. And the shared interest that he has seen is that this commitment to defeating ISIS,” Gabbard told Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Gabbard has drawn criticism from her fellow lawmakers for traveling to Syria and meeting with Assad. She reiterated that the trip was to meet with the Syrian people and that her meeting with the national leader was not the primary reason for the visit.

“When the opportunity presented itself to meet with President Assad, I took it because I believe that if we profess to care for the Syrian people – we want to end the suffering for them – we have to be willing to meet with whomever we need to in order to accomplish that,” Gabbard said.

“That was much of what I discussed with him in that meeting. How do we get to a place where we can end this war where the terrorists in his country can be defeated?”

Gabbard decried the interventionist foreign policy the U.S. has employed in dealing with terrorist groups in Middle Eastern countries in the past, including in Iraq, Libya and presently, Syria.

The Democratic lawmaker instead said the U.S. must consider the potential effect of taking down Assad and leaving Syria without a leader. She said jihadist groups would be the next to take over the country and would only complicate global matters, making life for the Syrian people “a living hell” and creating a “genocide” for religious minorities.

Trump signs national security orders, critics cry 'Holocaust'

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President Trump on Friday signed two national security-related executive actions on Friday, while attending the swearing-in ceremony for Defense Secretary James Mattis, one relatively uncontroversial and another that has opponents bringing up the Holocaust.

One action is an executive memorandum focused on rebuilding the military, something Trump has frequently promised to do.

The other is an executive order aimed at stepping up screening measures for people entering the country from areas besieged by terrorism. Trump has repeatedly called on the government to implement “extreme vetting” with individuals entering the U.S. from terror-filled insecure regions.

By Sarah Westwood

01/27/17 4:41 PM

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