2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has proven time and time again that she is not afraid to knock over a lot of chairs and turn over some tables to shake up the Democratic establishment.

She proved it again last week by voting “present” on the articles of impeachment against President Trump instead of marching along party lines with a “yea” vote. In an interview with The Hill the morning after the vote was taken, she explained why she decided to go her own way:

Gabbard, the sole remaining Democratic presidential candidate in the House, told Hill.TV that while she thinks Trump is “absolutely” guilty of wrongdoing, a vote in favor of impeachment “should never come about as a culmination of a highly partisan process.”

“This is something that our founding fathers warned us about,” Gabbard said.

“Making this statement, voting ‘present,’ taking a stand for the center. Standing for our democracy and really that this decision of whether to remove Donald Trump or not must be in the hands of voters,” she added. “I believe that they will make that decision.”

The Hawaii congresswoman noted she has instead introduced a resolution censuring Trump.

Watch the interview below:

During the same interview, she again dismissed the idea she was considering a third-party run for president and also criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “mak[ing] up the rules” as she goes along by way of withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate.

Gabbard posted a video on Twitter on Thursday as #TulsiCoward trended on the platform and criticism by Democrats increased. She asserted both major political parties were trying to do “maximum damage to each other” for “a win,” and that if it doesn’t stop, “America is done for”:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was among the first Democrats to criticize Gabbard, although she didn’t do it by name:

“Today was very consequential, and to not take a stand one way or another, on a day of such great consequence to this country, I think is quite difficult,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters after the historic vote Wednesday, adding, “We are sent here to lead.”

To make matters worse for Gabbard among Democratic party officials and snide liberal commentators, President Trump praised her during a Turning Point USA speech on Sunday:

Former Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) said on Monday that Gabbard, who is not seeking reelection to Congress, should resign from her seat now and that a special election should be held to fill it:

“I believe people in the second district deserve representation and are not getting it and they are unlikely to be able to get it over the next year,” Abercrombie said during a press conference on the steps of the Prince Kuhio Federal Building in downtown Honolulu on Monday morning.

[…]

Abercrombie is a co-chair of State Sen. Kai Kahele’s campaign to claim Gabbard’s House seat, though he said he was speaking in his personal capacity as a former member of Congress.

Though she continues to deny she has plans to act as a spoiler third-party candidate in 2020, that hasn’t stopped Democrats from sounding alarm bells in the aftermath of her “present” vote last week.

Jon Chait wrote in NY Mag that Gabbard’s vote and her comments afterward “sets the stage for Gabbard to play the role of 2020’s Jill Stein.” Democrats have long believed that Stein played a role in Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump in 2016, though that theory has been debunked.

American Prospect editor at large Harold Meyerson opined that Gabbard “continued down her path to become next November’s independent Democratic spoiler” with her Wednesday vote.

Liberal MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow noted Gabbard’s Wednesday move “renewed speculation this morning about the congresswoman launching a possible third-party presidential campaign.”

I think the Hawaii congresswoman is on the up and up when she says she has no plans to play spoiler next year, but if Democrats keep questioning her loyalty to her country and party, she might change her mind in another act of defiance.

After the way they’ve treated her as a pariah and a “Russian asset” simply because she doesn’t view all Republicans as the enemy and thinks elections should be decided at the ballot box, would you blame her?

 

 
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