Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has faced increased backlash from Democrats in the wake of her decision to vote "present" on the matter of two articles of impeachment drafted against President Donald Trump, but on Saturday, during an event, the president offered praise for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
According to Mediaite, at a Turning Point USA conference held in Florida, Trump repeated his previous thoughts on the entire impeachment process, calling it a "witch hunt" and also attacked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, criticizing her for claiming that Gabbard is an agent of Russia.
Trump went on to praise the Hawaii Democrat, offering her his respect in the wake of the historic House vote, in which members had to choose whether or not to vote on two articles of impeachment drafted against the president, one for obstruction of Congress and the other for abuse of power.
"And they lost all credibility because you know that Tulsi Gabbard — and I give her respect. She didn't vote the other day. I give her a lot of respect, because she knew it was wrong. But I don't know, but I know one thing. She is not an agent of Russia," Trump said at the conference.
While all Republicans in the House voted against the impeachment of Trump, three Democrats also voted against at least one of the two articles drafted against him. Gabbard was the only "present" vote in the entire chamber.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, fellow Democrats have leveled fierce criticism at Gabbard for not joining the vast majority of the party in their successful impeachment vote. Rep. Pramila Jayapal said in a recent interview that Gabbard's decision was not a wise political move and stated that she believes the "present" vote was a "cop-out."
Gabbard has repeatedly defended the reason she chose to vote "present" for the impeachment vote, essentially saying that she felt that voting for the impeachment of the president would be for partisan reasons only, which were reasons she couldn't accept.
"After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no," Gabbard said in a statement. "I am standing in the center and have decided to vote 'present.'"
The 2020 Democratic candidate has also recently faced rumors that she's considering a third-party presidential run, with her critics pointing to her impeachment vote as further proof of such a possibility. Gabbard has denied such allegations.
Gabbard's chances for grabbing the Democratic nomination for the 2020 election appear to be slim, as recent polling data would suggest. According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, Gabbard currently sits in ninth place with 1.7 percent of support.