Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard says will run for president

Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard says will run for president

Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran who met dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria during that country's devastating civil war, said Friday that she is launching a United States presidential bid.

Tulsi Gabbard says she has chose to run for president and will hold a formal announcement within the next week.

An independent-minded Democrat who has defied party leadership, Gabbard said in an interview on CNN: "I have made a decision to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week".

In 2017, Gabbard met with Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad and drew widespread criticism.

She said she does not regret the trip and considers it important to meet with adversaries if "you are serious about pursuing peace". Former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro plans to announce his run for the presidency on Saturday.

She is on the populist left in the Democratic Party and supported Bernie Sanders, the maverick progressive senator, for the party's nomination in 2016. She sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she has staked out a position as one of the most vocal non-interventionists in Congress. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee at the end of past year.

Gabbard, 37, arrived in Congress six years ago after an underdog campaign for Hawaii's mostly rural 2nd District.




A number of other potential Democratic candidates, including heavyweights like former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen.

The presidential run would, in fact, be a crowded Democratic primary field before the presidential election.

"I'm thinking through how I can best be of service and I'll make my decision based on that", she said.

She had a run-in with Harris this week, accusing her of religious bigotry for her opposition to a nominee for federal judgeship because he belonged to a Catholic organisation called the Knights of Columbus. Gabbard supported legislation that made it more hard for Syrian refugees to enter the U.S.

Asked past year whether she would still consider running if Senator Sanders ran, Ms Gabbard said Senator Sanders is a friend and she did not know what his plans were.

Rania Batrice, who was a deputy campaign manager for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and is now a top aide to Gabbard, will be the campaign manager, Batrice says. Though not Indian American, Gabbard is often considered one by the community because of her professed religion - a Hindu - and there stories that Hindu temples in the Washington-Maryland-Virginia region chimed their bells to coordinate with her swearing in in 2012.

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