Tulsi Gabbard, who sought 2020 Democratic nomination, says she’s leaving party


Washington
CNN
 — 

Former congresswoman and 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard announced on Tuesday that she is leaving the Democratic Party.

For Gabbard, the announcement is the culmination of years in which she has been increasingly at odds with the Democratic Party and its policies.

“I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party. It’s now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue & stoking anti-white racism, who actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms enshrined in our Constitution,” Gabbard said in a video posted to social media. The announcement was made on the first episode of her new podcast, “The Tulsi Gabbard Show.”

Gabbard, who made history by becoming the first American Samoan and practicing Hindu in Congress following her election in 2012, also criticized what she said were Democrats’ “open border” policies and anti-police rhetoric.

The former congresswoman, who represented Hawaii’s 2nd district, has long been a unique and occasionally controversial voice in the Democratic Party.

As one of the Democratic presidential contenders in the crowded 2020 field, she touted herself as an Iraq War veteran and staked out a distinctly anti-interventionist foreign policy. On the campaign trail, she blamed US intervention in Latin America for creating instability that triggered the surge in migration across the southern US border and was a co-sponsor of several bills aimed at keeping migrant families together at the border.

And when Gabbard was running for president, Hillary Clinton suggested in an interview that she was being groomed to run as a third-party candidate and was a favorite of the Russians. Clinton suggested that the person she was talking about was a “Russian asset,” while not naming the Hawaii Democrat.

Gabbard filed a defamation lawsuit over the matter that she subsequently dropped in May 2020.

Gabbard endorsed Joe Biden after suspending her presidential campaign in 2020, but she has since been a vocal critic of the President and regularly appears on Fox News.

“President Biden campaigned on a message of unity, healing the partisan divide bringing the country together. He just gave a big speech saying supporters of President (Donald) Trump are the most extremist group in our country and a threat to our democracy. That’s half the country,” she said in her announcement video on Tuesday.

Gabbard also faced criticisms earlier this year from local Democrats who voted to condemn her “for participating in an event that raised funds that will harm Democrats across the country” after she spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The former congresswoman did not indicate which party she would be affiliated with moving forward but called on “independent-minded Democrats” to join her in leaving the Democratic Party.

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