- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard bucked her Democratic Party anew, this time saying the House’s impeachment of President Trump increases the prospects not only for his reelection but for the return to a Washington fully controlled by Republicans.

Impeachment “has greatly increased the likelihood that Donald Trump will remain the president for the next five years,” the Hawaii Democrat and 2020 presidential contender said in a video posted this week on social media.

The messaging stands in contrast to the rest of the major contenders in the 2020 Democratic field, who have offered at least some measure of support for impeaching Mr. Trump.

But Ms. Gabbard, who has consistently warned about the divisive of the process, voted “Present” on both articles of impeachment in December. The move underscored her iconoclastic bid for the White House that has seen her consistently wage battles against the Democratic establishment.

She also said impeachment has increased the likelihood that Republicans will regain control of the House next year — a situation in which the GOP would once again control the House, Senate and White House if Republicans keep their Senate majority.



“This is going to be a disaster for our country,” Ms. Gabbard said.

House Democrats impeached Mr. Trump on a party-line vote Dec. 18. The charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress stemmed from Mr. Trump asking Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, as well as possible Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Democrats argue that the investigations were solely for Mr. Trump’s political benefit because Mr. Biden is a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and Ukrainian election meddling would minimize Russian interference in the 2016 campaigns.

Ms. Gabbard has defended her “Present” votes, saying she thinks Mr. Trump is guilty of wrongdoing but that she didn’t think the removal of a president should be the culmination of a “partisan process.”

“It was and continues to be extremely partisan,” she said at a recent campaign event in New Hampshire. “We can and should defeat Donald Trump for his multiple wrongdoings and abuses of power and defeat him and throw him out of office there so that we can come together as a country and move forward together.”

The votes angered many Democrats but earned Ms. Gabbard some praise from Mr. Trump.

“I give her a lot of respect. Because she knew it was wrong. She took a pass,” the president said at an event in Florida this month.

Ms. Gabbard, who has been polling in the low single digits and is well back of the top tier of contenders, nevertheless attracted significant attention in the fall after Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ 2016 presidential nominee, suggested that the congresswoman was being groomed to mount a third-party presidential run to help boost Mr. Trump’s reelection chances.

“She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Ms. Gabbard, who has repeatedly said she won’t run third-party if she doesn’t win the Democratic nomination, shot back that she’s running for president to undo the “failed legacy” of Mrs. Clinton, a former secretary of state and first lady.

Ms. Gabbard also has criticized the Democratic National Committee for selection criteria that have steadily winnowed the number of candidates able to make the debate stages.

At the Democratic debate in July, she notably tore into Sen. Kamala D. Harris for her record as a prosecutor and the number of people in Ms. Harris’s home state of California who ended up behind bars for marijuana-related offenses.

Ms. Harris tried to return the favor in the November debate, criticizing Ms. Gabbard for failing to call Syrian leader Bashar Assad a war criminal and for excessively criticizing the Democratic Party.

Ms. Gabbard shot back that Ms. Harris, who has since left the race, was trafficking in “lies and smears and innuendos.”

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