Accused of consorting with the enemy by The Plain Dealer and former Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, Kucinich responds, calling Strickland's attacks "unfounded and inflammatory" and explaining the peace connections behind his meetings with Assad.
In endorsing Kucinich in the Democratic primary for Ohio governor, the editorial board of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer wrote "'he must never again make nice with Syrian butcher Bashar Assad,'" saying "it's doubly important for his credibility and integrity that Kucinich now also sever his financial ties to Assad apologists.
"Our board still feels Kucnich is the best Democratic candidate, but his financial links to pro-Assad groups diminish him and harm his ability to be a disinterested voice for peace and justice. He must end these connections."
Former Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, a supporter of rival candidate Richard Cordray accused Kucinich of associating with "the most despicable people imaginable." According to The Chronicle, Strickland "criticized Kucinich for accepting and initially failing to report a $20,000 speaking fee from the pro-Assad the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committee and demanded Kucinich disclose other similar contributions."
These accusations seemed especially impactful in the wake of the alleged chemical attack in Douma. However, in interviews at the Hague, now witnesses have called the alleged attack a false flag by the White Helmets.
Kucinich called Strickland's attacks "unfounded and inflammatory"which "grossly misportrayed" two Christian Lebanese donors who now fear for their safety as a result of Strickland's attack.
Kucinich also responded to the Plain Dealer editorial which in effect, re-endorsed him for Governor of Ohio, but also urged him to sever ties to supporters and apologists for Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Following is the letter Kucinich sent to the Plain Dealer (provided by the Kucinich for Governor campaign):
The people of Ohio and The Plain Dealer Editorial Board certainly deserve answers to the questions raised in your recent editorial.
Several trips I made to the Middle East, including Lebanon and Syria, were sponsored by a community organization, the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services (AACCESS - Ohio), which serves Cleveland's large Arab American community. AACCESS is composed of Arab-Americans of various Christian and Muslim denominations, some of whom favor the Assad government in Syria, and some who do not.
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Bassam and Elie Khawam, prominent members of that organization, have been friends of mine since 1991. I met them during Bill Clinton's campaign for President. They have contributed, generously, to my campaigns as well as to the campaigns of many prominent Democrats. Contrary to published reports, I have had no financial dealings with the Khawams, nor any financials ties to them.