- Tulsi Gabbard was a congresswoman representing Hawaii for four terms
- Gabbard ran for president in 2020 and later endorsed Joe Biden
- Gabbard announced she was leaving the Democratic party in a video message in October 2022.
Former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, 41, announced that she was parting ways with the Democratic Party in a video message posted on her Twitter on Tuesday, October 11. The 2020 presidential candidate gave a long list of reasons why she was leaving, and while she offered talking points, she did not provide specific examples of the things she was accusing the Democratic party of doing. “I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic party that’s under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers, who are driven by cowardly woke-ness, who divide us by racializing every issue and stoking anti-white racism, who actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms that are enshrined in our Constitution, who are hostile to people of faith and spirituality, who demonize the police but protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans, who believe in open borders, who weaponize the national security state to go after their political opponents, and above all, who are dragging us ever closer to nuclear war,” she said.
After listing her reasons, Gabbard called on more Democrats to also split from their party. “I believe in a government that’s of the people, by the people, and for the people. Unfortunately, today’s Democratic party does not. Instead, it stands for a government that is of, by, and for the powerful elite. Now, I’m calling on my fellow common sense, independent-minded Democrats to join me in leaving the Democratic party,” she said. Find out more about the former congresswoman here.
1. She’ was the first Hindu and Samoan congressperson in US history
Gabbard is from Leloaloa, a small village on Tutuila Island in American Samoa. She became the first Samoan member of Congress in 2012, and represented Hawaii’s second district for four terms. She did not seek re-election in 2020 due to her presidential run. Gabbard was raised in a multi-faith family practicing both Christian and Hinduism, and is the first Hindu congressperson, as well. Along with Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, she’s the first female combat veteran ever elected to Congress — and now, the first female combat veteran to run for president.
Since leaving Congress, Gabbard has started a podcast called The Tulsi Gabbard Show, and she’s also made appearances on Fox News and comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast. She also spoke at the Republican conference CPAC in February 2022.
2. She made history as the youngest person to be elected in Hawaii’s state legislature
Gabbard was just 21 years old when she joined the Hawaii House of Representatives in 2002, remaining in the office for two years. If she wins the 2020 election, she would be the youngest president in United States history, at 39 years old. The youngest president so far was Theodore Roosevelt, who was 42.
3. She’s a combat veteran
She left the Hawaii State House of Representatives in 2004 to deploy with the Hawaii National Guard in a medical unit to Iraq. She volunteered for another deployment in 2008, that time as a “military police platoon leader training counterterrorism units,” per a profile from The Atlantic. In between the deployments, she graduated at the top of her class from an Officer Candidate School in Alabama.
4. She ran for president in 2020
Long before she left the Democratic party, Gabbard was on the primary ticket in the 2020 election in an attempt to run against then-President Donald Trump. The Democratic representative from Hawaii made the announcement on Jan. 11, 2019, telling CNN’s Van Jones, “I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week…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.”
She explained that her key issues that her campaign focused on included healthcare, 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 during her announcement on CNN. “I look forward to being able to get into this and to talk about it in depth.”
5. She was the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee until resigning
Gabbard gave up the position to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders’ bid for the 2016 presidential race. After resigning and supporting the Vermont senator, Tulsi later ran against Sanders in the 2020 election.
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 19, 2020
After they both dropped out, they each endorsed President Joe Biden. “It’s clear that Democratic primary voters have chosen Vice President Joe Biden to be the person who will take on President Trump in the general election,” she said in a March 2019 announcement video. “I’m confident that he will lead our country, guided by the spirit of aloha respect and compassion, and thus help heal the divisiveness that has been tearing our country apart.”