Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who also happens to be a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, is receiving increased blowback from her Democratic colleagues over her “present” vote for the two articles of impeachment drafted against President Donald Trump.
According to The Hill, Democrats even gave the benefit of the doubt to a few dozen of their party members who were hesitant to vote in favor of Trump’s impeachment given that their districts back home were won by the president in the 2016 election, which obviously places their re-election chances in jeopardy. Despite that, all but three Democrats cast a vote in favor of at least one of the articles of impeachment on Wednesday evening.
But given the fact that Gabbard doesn’t fall into the “vulnerable in 2020” category — not to mention her attempt to become the 2020 Democratic nominee for president — several of her colleagues blasted her vote.
One of those colleagues was Rep. Steve Cohen, who commented shortly after the historic House impeachment vote on Gabbard’s refusal to cast a vote one way or another.
Cohen said Gabbard’s position was “beyond anything that you can really understand.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal ripped Gabbard’s position during an interview with Democracy Now, as they pointed out in a tweeted clip of the interview with the Washington Democrat.
“I really think it was not a smart choice for her politically,” Jayapal said. “I thought that was very disappointing and, frankly, a cop out.”
But according to Gabbard, her “present” vote was not a cop-out or an excuse to get out of voting. She stated in a video that she believed the president was guilty, but said that she “could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting president must not be the culmination of a partisan process.”
She also explained that she wants to rise above partisan politics, which have led to baseless — so far — rumors that she might be considering a third-party run for the presidency, a claim that she strongly denied when asked by Hill.tv if it were true.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely baseless. People should actually listen, listen to the words that I’m saying and how I came to this decision,” Gabbard replied.
“It was an active protest against the terrible fallout of this zero-sum mindset that the two opposing political parties have trapped America in,” she added.
Gabbard, who fell just short of qualifying for the most recent Democratic primary debate, has struggled to gain much ground in national and state polling. According to the Real Clear Politics rolling average, Gabbard currently only commands 1.7 percent of support.