Tulsi Gabbard: Here's Why I Voted 'Present'

Democrat wanted to 'make a stand for the center'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2019 2:22 AM CST
Tulsi Gabbard Explains Her Vote of 'Present'
Tulsi Gabbard speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The only presidential candidate who had a vote on impeaching President Trump Wednesday decided against giving a yes or no answer. Instead, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted "present" on both articles of impeachment and criticized the process, the New York Times reports. The Hawaii Democrat said in a statement that she wanted to "make a stand for the center." She said her conscience wouldn't let her vote against impeachment, because she believes Trump "is guilty of wrongdoing," but she "also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting president must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country."

Gabbard slammed Republicans for abdicating "their responsibility to exercise legitimate oversight" as well as Democrats, whose "extreme rhetoric was never conducive to an impartial fact-finding process," CNN reports. She said she had introduced a resolution to censure Trump, which would "send a strong message to this president and future presidents that their abuses of power will not go unchecked, while leaving the question of removing Trump from office to the voters to decide." Fox reports that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized the "present" vote, saying, "We are sent here to lead ... To not take a stand one way or another, on a day of such great consequence to this country, I think is quite difficult." (More Trump impeachment stories.)

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