Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) did not endorse fellow Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard for president during a Monday appearance on MSNBC. Hirono suggested Gabbard, a four-term congresswoman, does not have a long enough record supporting progressive causes.
"Your fellow Hawaiian legislator Tulsi Gabbard has made clear she's going to run in 2020, but she's run into trouble over past opposition to LGBT rights as well as with her ties to [Syrian President] Assad. Do you think you can support Congresswoman Gabbard in her bid in 2020?" anchor Kasie Hunt asked.
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"I'm going to be looking for someone who has a long record of supporting progressive goals and ideals, and I certainly wish all of our candidates the best, because it is going to be a long, hard race, and so I wish everyone well. But for myself in these times of what I would call not normal times, I want someone who is very much [and] has been on the page in terms of supporting equal opportunity, choice, all of the kinds of issues that I've been fighting for, for decades," Hirono said.
"It sounds like you don't think Tulsi Gabbard has done that," Hunt said.
"Well I wish her well, though, as I do all of the other candidates," Hirono responded.
Gabbard and Hirono clashed earlier this week when the congresswoman criticized the latter for "fomenting religious bigotry" after the senator questioned a judicial nominee about his membership in Catholic organizations.
Hirono questioned Brian Buescher, who was nominated to serve on Nebraska's U.S. District Court, about his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization that upholds Church teachings on social issues.
A spokesperson for Hirono hit back at Gabbard, saying the congresswoman "based her misguided opinion on the far-right wing manipulation of [Hirono's] straightforward questions."
Gabbard has also faced controversy over her past statements and involvement in organizations opposing same-sex marriage. The 37-year-old announced on Friday she had decided to run and would make a formal announcement within the next week.