Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) discussed her decision to resign her position as a Vice-Chair at the Democratic National Committee to campaign for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) Monday on Morning Joe, saying the DNC had “punished” candidates who wanted more debates.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski asked Gabbard about the role of debates in the Democratic presidential primary and the controversies surrounding how many would occur.
“What do you think about the structure of the debates and the way the campaigns were lined up from the get-go? Did Bernie Sanders get a fair break?” Brzezinski asked.
“Well, as Vice-Chair of the DNC as you know, I came out and felt that there should be more debates, that there should be more conversations and that our presidential candidates should not be punished for going out and engaging in these conversations with the American people in cities and towns across the country,” Gabbard said. “We’ve seen that there have been more debates, there have been more forums, which I think is healthy.
“But really, I think, there still has not been a focus, there has not been a clear conversation about the contrast between our two candidates when it comes to this question of war and peace.”
This puts Gabbard at odds with the Chair of the DNC, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) who has final say on the number of party sanctioned debates. Schultz received sharp criticism from Martin O’Malley and Sanders over the initial limited number of debates, as well as from other party constituents.