- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 19, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard defended her “present” vote on impeachment against President Trump this week as a rejection of “zero-sum” politics with the aim of causing “maximum hurt.”

The Hawaii Democrat told supporters of her presidential campaign that contrary to what critics say, her vote sent a clear and concise message about how she feels about the “polluted” political environment.

“Here’s the deal,” she told her 762,000 Twitter followers Thursday. “Politics should not be a zero-sum game, but tragically that’s exactly what it’s become and it’s polluted the whole nature of our politics. The point of politics should not be about doing maximum damage to your opponents just to win because all that’s happened as has in the case of our current America is that people get hurt and nothing gets done.”

Ms. Gabbard then explicitly defended her “present” vote, derided by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as showing a lack of leadership.

“My stance yesterday, my vote, was opting out of this zero-sum game mindset and back into one of negotiation and compromise,” Ms. Gabbard said. “We’re stuck right now in this terrible scenario where everyone is trying to extract maximum hurt from their opponent for a ‘win.’ My ‘present’ vote was not passive. It was an active protest against the terrible fallout of this zero-sum mindset that the two opposing political parties have trapped American in. There’s no winning here. Everyone is losing. Our country is losing. We, if we don’t break this stalemate we find ourselves in, America is done for.”

The presidential hopeful concluded her comments by saying she hopes to work “side by side” with all Americans to “usher in a bright future.”

A Senate trial start date has not yet been announced.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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