Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard ended several months of speculation over whether she will become a presidential candidate, announcing in a CNN interview Friday she will seek the Democratic nomination for the White House.
Gabbard, 37, affirmed her intent to enter what is expected to field as many as 20 Democratic candidates attempting to unseat President Trump in 2020.
A guest on CNN’s The Van Jones Show set to air Saturday evening, Gabbard was asked directly if she would enter the race for the Democratic nomination, to which she replied:
“I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week.”
Ms. Gabbard expanded on what will likely become central to her platform, mentioning universal health care, a non-interventionist stance on foreign policy issues, criminal justice reform and climate change.
Shortly after her announcement, Gabbard implored Democrats to support her bid after penning an op-ed Tuesday criticizing some senators in her own party for weaponizing “religion for their own selfish gain” in questioning judicial nominees who are outwardly religious.
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 12, 2019
The first Hindu member of Congress, Gabbard is an Army veteran who volunteered with a field medical unit in Iraq, serving a 12-month tour from 2003 to 2004). Promoted to the rank of Captain, Gabbard returned to the Middle East for a second tour, serving in Kuwait.
Gabbard continues to serve in the Hawaii Army National Guard, holding the rank of Major.
A sharp critic of U.S. foreign policy, Gabbard drew the ire of her congressional colleagues with a visit to Syria to meet with Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.
An opponent of regime change, Gabbard was briefly considered for a cabinet position in the Trump administration for her similar anti-interventionist views, but Trump eventually chose Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson.
The third high-profile Democratic officeholder to declare her intention to run for the Oval Office, Gabbard joins former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, both of whom have formed exploratory committees for a presidential run.
Mr. Castro, also a former mayor of San Antonio, formally announced his 2020 bid on Saturday in Texas.
[CNN] [Reuters via MSN] [Photo courtesy Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images via Newsmax]