Tulsi Gabbard announces White House run in 2020
Washington: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard pipped Senator Kamala Harris in announcing she will run for the White House in 2020 in what is expected to be an expansive Democratic field of up to a dozen aspirants who will compete for the party nomination to take on Republican incumbent Donald Trump.
“I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week,” Gabbard said in her interview on CNN’s Van Jones Show over the weekend. She will be the first Hindu-American to run for the White House, and should she win the party nomination and eventually emerge victorious in the tortuous race to the White House — a long shot by most accounts — she could become the first non-Christian, and indeed first Hindu President of the United States.
Gabbard, 37, is the first significant candidate to plunge into a field that has two other prominent women casing the ground. California senator Kamala Harris, who is of Indian-African-American heritage, is weighing a run with a memoir and travels in primary territory. Also in the hunt is Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, who has been scouting the ground in Iowa, which typically is the first state to hold primaries.
A dozen other aspirants have expressed interest in ru- nning — among them, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, former vice-president Joe Biden, Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Eric Swalwell, Senators Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Bob Casey, and governors Steve Bullock and Terry McAuliffe.
A fourth-term lawmaker from Hawaii, Gabbard, along with newer first-time Representatives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex and Rashiada Tlaib, is among the new set of Democrat insurgents who are challenging the tradition power structure in the Party with their radical leftist approach. Gabbard, who served in the US military herself and is an Iraq War veteran, stunned her party and the Washington establishment in 2017 when she made an independent trip to Syria and met the country’s leader Bashar al-Assad, who the US regards as a sworn enemy.
“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 said about her White House bid. “There is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace.”
Her views are already attracting an army of trolls on social media who regard her as an outlier. “Assad’s favourite Democrat is Running for President”, read a headline in a far-right publication. Such attacks have never bothered the Hawaii representative who hasn’t been afraid to take on her own party establishment – including former President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Born in American Samoa in 1981 to Carol and Mike Gabbard, she is the fourth of five children, all brought up in the Brahma Madhwa Gaudiya Sampradaya that her mother embraced following her introduction to the Krishna movement. She named her five children Bhakti, Jai, Aryan, Tulsi, and Vrindavan.
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Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to the US Congress, said she will formally announce her candidacy within the next week