US representative Tulsi Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq war who has had a spiny relationship with the Democratic Party, added a new liberal vote on Saturday to a burgeoning field of candidates seeking the 2020 presidential nomination.
Gabbard, 37, officially launched her candidacy in Hawaii, where she has served as a congressman since 2013. Samoan-American, she was the first Hindu elected to Congress.
She said that the crowd had gathered against powerful, self-righteous politicians and greedy companies & # 39; and promised to "dignity, honor and respect for the presidency & # 39; to recover.
"Join the forefront of this service spirit above yourself and stand up against the forces of greed and corruption," she said.
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Gabbard made headlines in 2016 by stopping a leadership position at the Democratic National Committee on the party's decision to limit the number of debates between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, a move analysts said helped Clinton.
She then approved Sanders as president and became one of the few members of the congress. She remains popular with a number of progressives, but will have serious competition on that front with candidates such as senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren on the presidential level.
Gabbard has consistently opposed US intervention in Syria, even secretly to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in January 2017, provoking strong criticism from some in her own party. She is against Assad's removal from power.
Gabbard was not a factor in opinion polls in early 2020 and her budding campaign has already shown signs of problems.
Politico reported this week that its campaign leader Rania Batrice would leave the next few days after weeks of desperation.
Gabbard's campaign on Friday confirmed the departure but said that Batrice would remain an advisor to Gabbard.
Gabbard was also forced to apologize for her earlier opposition to gay marriage, which she now supports, and is engaged in a public feud with Hawaii's popular democratic senator Mazie Hirono over a federal judicial nominee.
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Democratic nominative competitions start in February 2020. The candidate who collects the majority of delegates is nominated at the summer party convention and is likely to face Republican President Donald Trump in the November general election.
Gabbard served in Iraq and Kuwait in a medical department of the medical department of the Hawaii National Guard. Experiences they said helped to clarify non-interventionist positions on foreign policy. She has made veterans issues a priority in Congress.
In 2017 she expressed skepticism about the Trump government's conclusion that the Assad government was behind a chemical weapon attack that killed dozens in Syria. Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean called Gabbard's views "a disgrace" and said she was unsuited to be in Congress.
In November last year, she taunted Trump because she did not set herself up in the direction of Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
She also struck the administration for supporting Saudi Arabia in its conflict with Yemen.
In 2015 she separated with many Democrats by criticizing the then President Barack Obama because he refused the term Islamic extremism & # 39; to use to describe members of the Islamic State and other militant groups.