Rep. Tulsi Gabbard gave an interview to Van Jones which is set to air tomorrow. While the full interview hasn’t been seen yet, CNN has released a preview in which Gabbard announces she has decided to run for president:
“I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week,” the Hawaii Democrat told CNN’s Van Jones during an interview slated to air at 7 p.m. Saturday on CNN’s “The Van Jones Show.”
Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, currently serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of Congress.
“There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I’m concerned about and that I want to help solve,” she said, listing health care access, criminal justice reform and climate change as key platform issues…
In 2015, Gabbard, then a vice-chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was sharply critical of its then-chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for scheduling just six presidential debates during the 2016 primary election cycle. She later resigned her post as DNC vice chair to become one of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ highest-profile supporters, aligning herself with his populist economic message.
Gabbard has a habit of bucking people in her own party. Earlier this week she wrote a piece for the Hill in which she criticized members of her own party for introducing religious bigotry into their questioning of a Trump judicial nominee. Gabbard didn’t use any names, but the description applied to questions asked by Senators Hirono and Harris. So if you were thinking Gabbard was looking for a VP slot on the Kamala Harris ticket, that’s probably out now.
Gabbard is so far left that she lost the support of a Hawaii teacher’s union over her handling of Syria. From HuffPost:
“I think that after seeing [Gabbard’s] continued lack of fighting for human and civil rights, that this was — for our members across the state — enough was enough,” he said.
Gabbard has attracted significant criticism for her positions on Syria, particularly on Assad. In January, she met with Assad without informing leaders in her party, and she dismissed his opposition ― including rebels backed by the United States ― as “terrorists.” She said she sat down with Assad in an attempt to end the civil war in Syria.
More recently, she was one of the few public officials who refused to immediately blame the Syrian government for the horrific chemical attack that killed dozens of people, including children, in April. She said “whoever is found responsible” must be held accountable and talked about “if” Assad is indeed guilty.
Gabbard then went on CNN and said she wasn’t convinced Assad was responsible:
— CNN (@CNN) April 7, 2017
Gabbard has said many times that she’s not defending Assad but she’s fuzzying up his responsibility for the attack and thereby making an argument that is very welcome in Damascus and also in Moscow. In fact, we do know Assad and Russia were lying about responsibility for the attack. The NY Times did an excellent video summarizing the evidence Assad and Russia were lying which you can see below. But first, here’s Gabbard’s announcement: