- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 19, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took issue with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard being the only Congress member to vote “present” when considering articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez of New York criticized Ms. Gabbard of Hawaii, a 2020 presidential candidate and fellow Democrat, for voting Wednesday neither for or against impeaching Mr. Trump.

“Today was very consequential, and to not take a stand one way or another, on a day of such great consequence to this country, I think is quite difficult,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez told reporters, according to The New York Post. “We are sent here to lead.”

“Whenever we have a vote, we should vote ‘yes’ and we should vote ‘no,’” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez added, the Post reported. “Voting ‘present’ is a very tough position to be in. To not take a stand in a moment that is so consequential, I think it’s quite difficult.”

Ms. Gabbard said in a statement following Wednesday’s vote that she “could not in good conscience vote either yes or no.”

“I am standing in the center and have decided to vote Present. I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing,” said Ms. Gabbard. “I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country”

Ms. Gabbard’s presidential campaign did not immediately return a message seeking reaction to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s remark.

Nearly all Democrats who voted Wednesday moved to impeach Mr. Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey voted against both articles, while Jared Golden of Maine approved the abuse of power article but rejected the other.

A trial in the Senate has not yet been scheduled.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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