Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is back and she’s got a lot to say.

Though the Hawaii Congresswoman didn’t qualify for the September Democratic presidential debate, she found out this week that her polling and campaign fundraising numbers for the month were good enough to put her back on the debate stage in October for the fourth round:

Gabbard got 2 percent support in a New Hampshire poll conducted by Monmouth University and released on Tuesday. The Hawaii congresswoman had previously gotten 2 percent in three other DNC-approved polls, and her campaign said she already racked up more than the 130,000 donors she needed to make the debate stage.

Gabbard will join Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tom Steyer, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang onstage in October.

In spite of the good news for her campaign, Gabbard hasn’t had much time to celebrate. There’s been a lot going on in DC this week in case you haven’t noticed, and she’s been busy giving interviews explaining why she’s against impeaching President Trump in spite of the fact that many of her Democratic Congressional colleagues have taken the opposite view.

In an interview she did with Fox News on Tuesday before the Trump/Zelensky call transcript came out, Gabbard told “Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade that impeachment would be “terribly divisive for the country:”

Gabbard, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in a crowded field, said on “Fox & Friends” that she has been consistent in saying that victory in the 2020 election, not impeachment, is the way for Democrats to make sure Trump leaves office.

“I believe that impeachment at this juncture would be terribly divisive for the country at a time when we are already extremely divided. The hyperpartisanship is one of the main things driving our country apart,” she told host Brian Kilmeade.

She went on to say that she was running for president because she believes “it is important to defeat Donald Trump,” but she thinks “it’s the American people who need to make their voices heard making that decision,” not Congress.

Watch her Fox News interview below:

Even the release of the phone call transcript didn’t change her mind. She told the HillTV Wednesday she didn’t find it “compelling” enough to rise to the level of warranting impeachment (transcribed):

HillTV: Has your mind changed on the issue of impeachment after that transcript has come out?

Rep. Gabbard: It hasn’t. I think when you step outside of the bubble here in Washington and you get to where most folks in the country are, look I’m not a lawyer but I think most people reading through that transcript are not going to find that extremely compelling cause to throw out a president that won an election in 2016.

And instead what I think most people will see is, ‘hey, this is another move by Democrats to get rid of Donald Trump’, further deepening the already hyperpartisan divides that we have in this country, and that’s really where I’m coming from.

Like most Democrats in the House, Gabbard doesn’t like Trump and wants him out of office. However, she’s not too far gone to understand that her party attempting to use impeachment as a tool to oust Trump is not the way the 2020 election should be decided:

Look, Donald Trump is corrupt — he is unfit to serve our country as president. He is unqualified to serve our country as commander-in-chief, I’m running for president to defeat him. I just think it’s so important for our country to be able to move forward to bridge these divides that it be the American people that make this decision.

Watch:

Something Gabbard doesn’t mention, but which is nevertheless relevant to the discussion, is that polling on impeachment varies, with some showing most people are against it while others show the American people are divided:

Voters are split on whether House Democrats should immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, according to a new American Barometer poll.

The survey, conducted by Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company, found that 40 percent of registered voters polled said House Democrats should begin impeachment proceedings, while 41 percent said Democrats in the chamber should not begin the process.

Quinnipiac University polling, on the other hand, shows most voters do not want Trump impeached:

While more than half of voters disapprove of his job performance, only 37 percent of voters say that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 57 percent say no, he should not be impeached.

Republicans were at 95% against impeachment and 4% for, but the Democrats have interesting numbers. 73% were in favor but 21% were against, indicating Democratic voters are not as united as people might think they are. 58% of independents polled did not favor impeachment.

It’s those types of numbers that have to be most concerning to the Democrats in those toss-up Congressional districts who have not yet gone on record with where they stand on impeachment. Not only that, but keep in mind that just because a majority of Democrats in the House support an impeachment inquiry, not all of those who have gone on record have indicated they support impeachment itself.

For those in purple districts, saying they support an inquiry is a way of them having the best of both worlds at this stage in the game: Showing Democratic voters in their districts that they care enough to investigate the allegations, but also showing Republican and independent voters in their districts that they haven’t leapfrogged automatically to impeachment.

A lot can happen between now and October 15th, which is when the next Democratic debate will take place. All candidates outside of Gabbard have either said they’re in favor of an impeachment inquiry or have outright called for Trump to be impeached as soon as possible.

It will be interesting to see Gabbard defend her position at the debate, especially if Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) attempts to get back at her for what happened at the one in July.

UPDATE

Rep. Gabbard reversed course on Friday afternoon, and issued a statement explaining why she was announcing her support for an impeachment inquiry:

“Up to this point, I have been opposed to pursuing impeachment because it will further divide our already badly divided country.

“However, after looking carefully at the transcript of the conversation with Ukraine’s President, the whistleblower complaint, the Inspector General memo, and President Trump’s comments about the issue, unfortunately, I believe that if we do not proceed with the inquiry, it will set a very dangerous precedent. Future presidents, as well as anyone in positions of power in the government, will conclude that they can abuse their position for personal gain, without fear of accountability or consequences.

[…]

“So it is unfortunate, but necessary, that I speak in support of the inquiry into the President’s alleged abuse of power in relation to his interactions with Ukraine’s leaders. This inquiry must be swift, thorough, and narrowly-focused. It cannot be turned into a long, protracted partisan circus that will further divide our country and undermine our democracy.”

It’s important to remember that in spite of her initial opposition to considering impeachment, Gabbard had said earlier in the week Congress still needed to do its oversight job reviewing all the evidence/documents. So even then she was supportive of an investigation. However, her position has now, ahem, evolved to being on board with Congress actually moving forward with a formal impeachment inquiry.

Weird. Wonder who got to her.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —

 
 
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