Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii revealed she was advised against opposing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Gabbard resigned from her high-ranking position on the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for the party's nomination.
On Feb. 28, Gabbard announced she had given up her role as vice chairwoman of the DNC to afford herself the ability to become a surrogate for Sanders. She is the most prominent member of Congress yet to endorse the Vermont senator.
“I’ll be very honest with you, a lot of people warned me against doing what I did,” Gabbard to MSNBC’s Brian Williams on March 1, as the results of Super Tuesday rolled in.
“But this is a very serious issue and what I did speaks to the high stakes that exist,” the congresswoman added.
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Gabbard, an Army veteran of the Iraq War, has sided with Sanders primarily because of his foreign policy philosophy.
“We need a commander-in-chief who will exercise good judgment and foresight, and stop getting us into these interventionist, regime-change wars, as we’ve seen in Iraq, as we’ve seen in Libya, and as we’re seeing now occurring in Syria,” Gabbard told CNN. “The stakes are very high and the contrast is very clear between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on these issues.”
The Clinton campaign has touted her foreign policy experience, particularly her service as secretary of state, as a strength over Sanders, whose policy proposals have focused mainly on domestic issues.
Gabbard derided Clinton’s claim that experience counts as a qualification, stating that “we could look to Dick Cheney if we want to look for experience in foreign policy.”
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The Hawaii representative is staunchly against involving U.S. troops in foreign conflicts and has predicted that a President Clinton would result in another war.
“That’s the important question here … a question of experience versus judgment,” Gabbard said. “To me the real question is judgment. And as a soldier, that’s what I look for in my next commander-in-chief.”
While Gabbard’s defection from the neutral DNC to Sanders’ campaign came as a surprise, there were hints that the former vice chairwoman was unhappy with how Democratic leadership was handling the party’s primary process.
“It’s very dangerous when we have people in positions of leadership who use their power to try to quiet those who disagree with them,” Gabbard told The New York Times in October 2015. “When I signed up … no one told me I would be relinquishing my freedom of speech and checking it at the door.”