Tulsi Gabbard to Run for President in 2020

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard / Getty
January 11, 2019

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) said Friday that she will run for president in 2020.

"I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," Gabbard told CNN host Van Jones in an interview schduled to air on Saturday.

"There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I'm concerned about and that I want to help solve," Gabbard added, pointing to health care, criminal justice reform, and climate change.

"There is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace," Gabbard said. "I look forward to being able to get into this and to talk about it in depth when we make our announcement."

Rania Batrice will manage Gabbard's campaign. Batrice served as a deputy campaign manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in 2016.

An Iraq war veteran and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Gabbard is also the first Hindu member of Congress.

In 2016, Gabbard resigned as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to support Sanders in her party's presidential primary. She disagreed with then-DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's decision to hold only six debates during the primary.

On foreign policy, Gabbard is considered to be anti-interventionist. She was criticized for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017. Gabbard said she met with him "because I felt it's important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we've got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace, and that's exactly what we talked about."

It was reported that Gabbard did not file necessary forms with the House Ethics Committee disclosing who paid for her trip to Syria as well as who else she may have met with there. Two months later, she was criticized by fellow Democrats for not blaming Assad for a gas attack that killed at least 100 civilians.

Earlier this week, Gabbard criticized Sen. Mazie Hirono, a fellow Hawaii Democrat, for questioning a judicial nominee's involvement in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization.

Gabbard joins other Democrats who have announced plans to run in 2020 or have formed exploratory committees, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and former Obama administration official Julian Castro.