Jan 11, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is running for president

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is running for president, she told CNN's Van Jones in an interview to air Saturday.

The big picture: Gabbard, one of the first female combat veterans in Congress, joins a crowded field of potential candidates. She plans to make a formal announcement "within the next week."

Catch up quick: Gabbard is a progressive Democrat who served as vice-chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, before resigning to support Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries.

  • Gabbard was first elected to the House in 2012, when she became the first American Samoan and Hindu lawmaker in Congress.
  • Steve Bannon, former chief strategist to President Donald Trump, was fond of Gabbard and set up a meeting between Trump and the Hawaii congresswoman during the 2016 transition. In a statement at the time, Gabbard said she would "never allow partisanship to undermine our national security when the lives of countless people lay in the balance.”
  • She called out now-President Trump after his statements over continuing support of Saudi Arabia in the wake of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, tweeting that "being Saudi Arabia's b*tch is not 'America First.'"
  • Gabbard herself has come under fire for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in 2017. She has vehemently argued against U.S.-led regime change and "staked out anti-interventionist foreign policy positions in Congress," per CNN.

Republican National Committee Spokesman Michael Ahrens said in a statement: "Tulsi Gabbard has an even bigger problem than her lack of experience – it’s that she has no base of support. Liberals think she’s too conservative, conservatives think she’s too liberal, and just about everyone thinks her coziness with Bashar al-Assad is disturbing.”

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