Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) announced Sunday that she is stepping down from her position as a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, in order to endorse presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Gabbard appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press Sunday morning, where host Chuck Todd noted that she “has been at odds with her boss, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for months over the Democratic presidential debate schedule.”
Gabbard replied and said she is resigning from the DNC altogether in order to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over Hillary Clinton. She listed her experience as an Iraq War veteran as one of the main reasons, and said she has seen firsthand “the true cost of war.”
“Well first of all, I am resigning from the DNC so that I can support Bernie Sanders for president, and I’d like to tell you why. As a veteran and as a soldier I’ve seen firsthand the true cost of war. I served in a medical unit during my first deployment where every single day I saw firsthand the very high human cost of that war. I see it in my friends who now a decade after we’ve come home are still struggling to get out of a black hole.”
Gabbard said she want to support a president who would “exercises good judgment,” and who “looks beyond the consequences,” in order to end the chaos in the Middle East.
“I think it’s most important for us as we look at our choices as to who our next commander-in-chief will be is to recognize the necessity to have a commander-in-chief who has foresight, who exercises good judgment, who looks beyond the consequences. Who looks at the consequences of the actions they are willing to take before they take those actions so that we don’t continue to find ourselves in these failures that have resulted in chaos in the Middle East and so much loss of life.”
While Sanders has condemned the U.S. overthrowing Saddam Hussein and creating a political vacuum that led to the rise of “Groups like ISIS,” during a presidential Democratic debate in January, he also said that while our first priority is destroying ISIS, our second priority “must be getting rid of Assad.”
Todd said that Gabbard has said that the next president needs to have a “military mindset,” and he questioned whether she thinks Sanders has that mindset.
Gabbard said she believes Sanders, who has been critical of the Iraq War, does have a “military mindset” in the sense that he would “go through an analysis process” when choosing to use or not to use “military power.”
“That military mindset says you have foresight. You look at what are the results? What are the consequences of these actions? How will other actors in the area react to those actions? What will we then do? And you look and continue down the line so you know exactly what you’re potentially getting yourself into before you make that decision that ends up costing us lives and treasure.”
Gabbard has also been critical of the debate schedule set up by the DNC, and in October she claimed she was disinvited from a Democratic presidential debate for openly criticizing the limited schedule during an appearance on MSNBC.
“More and more people on the ground from states across the country are calling for more debates, are wanting to have this transparency and this greater engagement in our democratic process,” Gabbard said during the interview. “We’ve gotta have more opportunity for people to present their vision for our country, their plans and to be held accountable for the positions that they’re taking and the path they’d like to take our country on.”