Defying party, Gabbard votes ‘present’ on Trump impeachment

  • Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii speaks to Democrats gathered at the Spratt Issues Conference in Greenville, S.C., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

Already comfortable as an outlier in her party, Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard did not support the impeachment of President Donald Trump, voting “present” Wednesday on two articles that cleared the House.

Gabbard has repeatedly criticized her party for seeking to impeach and remove the Republican president. The Hawaii congresswoman instead has called for censuring Trump after disclosures that he asked Ukraine’s president to help investigate already debunked allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden, who is also seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The House charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, setting up a Senate trial that is all but certain to end in his acquittal.

Gabbard was one of just a handful of Democrats who did not back impeachment. Two Democrats voted against the first article: Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who is considering switching parties to become a Republican, and Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, whose district went overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016. Those two and freshman Democratic Rep. Jared Golden of Maine also voted against the second article.

Trump, at a rally Wednesday night in Michigan, celebrated that “three Democrats went over to our side.”

Gabbard has defined her quixotic presidential bid with outlier positions. A military veteran still serving as an Army National Guard officer, she has long blasted U.S. foreign policy and its bent to military intervention while also defending Trump and his cozy relationship with Russia. She used the Democratic presidential debate stage to aggressively attack California Sen. Kamala Harris. And she got into a public back-and-forth with Hillary Clinton, the 2016 nominee.

Clinton seemingly started those volleys with an indirect rebuke, suggesting that Russia is using Gabbard in the 2020 campaign. Clinton produced no evidence that Moscow is directly backing Gabbard, but Russian state-owned media and a number of alt-right websites have promoted the congresswoman’s Democratic campaign, and the Russian Embassy has defended her on Twitter.

Gabbard retorted by calling Clinton “the queen of warmongers … and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.” ———

Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

  1. harry oyama December 18, 2019 6:42 pm Reply

    Tulsi Gabbard and her Dad State senator, both Democrats are a welcome sight against the backdrop of corrupt Democrats at both State of Hawaii and of Congress. If anything why has not the Democrat investigate their own Presidential Joe Bidden’s $1 billion dollar “donation” from communist China?

    As a matter of fact, the vast majority of Congress are so corrupt and beholden to special interests like big banks, drug companies, yet none are being investigated?

    1. Pete Antonson December 19, 2019 4:59 pm Reply

      So, you heard about this billion dollar Chinese thing from your 3rd cousin’s boyfriend’s neighbor’s best friend?

  2. Citizen Cane December 19, 2019 1:52 am Reply

    Clearly this is a move designed to preserve options for her own political future, but what about the people she represents? Something like 89% of Democrats favored impeach & remove! Looks for all the world like she’s trying to up her national profile, possibly preparatory to challenging Schatz in ‘22 for a Senate seat—perhaps as a Republican if necessary? And then, who knows? To infinity, and beyond! —eh, Tulsi? Just a suggestion: broaden your issues beyond opposition to foreign entanglements/ regime change. And don’t forget about the folks back home.

  3. kauaiboy December 19, 2019 5:35 am Reply

    Bye bye Tulsi. Do you not understand the title “Representative”? You have failed the Hawaii electorate by failing to vote to remove this childish, bullying President from office. You have placed your bet on the LOSER in hopes that he might win in 2020 and award you with a plum of a job in Washington. Bye bye.

  4. truth be known December 19, 2019 10:37 am Reply

    I have to admire someone, especially a politician, who has the intestinal fortitude to say what they believe is right rather than cling to the party line. Unlike the majority of candidates, Tulsi is funded by grass roots donations only. No PAC contributions with their “strings attached”. She is the voice of reason who stands out amongst a sea of left wing radicals. She would have my vote.

  5. harry oyama December 19, 2019 9:58 pm Reply

    Tulsi has my vote, won’t vote for any other Democrat that has ties to corrupt Hillary Clinton.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.