War Veteran Throws Hat in the Ring for 2020

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says it's about 'war and peace'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2019 11:45 AM CST
'Lesser Known' Candidate Is Running for President
In this Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, greets supporters in Honolulu.   (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)

Think Democrats are running the same old faces in 2020? Try Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who revealed her candidacy Friday: "I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," said the 37-year-old Army National Guard veteran on CNN's The Van Jones Show, per Politico. The three-term congresswoman says she's running for "a lot of reasons," but the "main issue that is central to the rest ... is the issue of war and peace." Gabbard may be "one of the lesser known" possible candidates, per the New York Times, but she turned heads in 2016 by quitting as vice chairwoman of the DNC so she could support Sen. Bernie Sanders at a time when most party officials were backing Hillary Clinton.

She also met with Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, in January 2017—a step other US officials refused to take after he was known to use chemical weapons on civilians. But it fit with Gabbard's desire for diplomatic solutions over "regime change" and military intervention abroad. The Iraq war veteran was also one of the few Democrats to meet with President Trump during the transition period of 2016, which drew criticism from fellow Dems, but the Washington Post notes that in 2017 she said "Trump's so-called populism has been a fraud." The first Hindu woman to serve in the House, Gabbard would be the youngest US president ever if she wins; she'll be 39 on Inauguration Day 2021. (Trump has reacted to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's interest in running for president.)

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