“I’m stepping off the campaign trail for a couple of weeks and putting on my Army uniform to go on a joint training exercise mission in Indonesia,” Gabbard told CBSN’s Caitlin Huey-Burns in an interview.
“I will be doing a training exercise with the Indonesian military, focused on a few different things like counterterrorism, humanitarian aid, and disaster response,” she continued.
“And joining my brothers and sisters from the Hawaii National Guard in doing so.”
— The Hill (@thehill) August 12, 2019
Gabbard said her supporters had urged her to find a way to avoid pausing her campaign, but she says she’s looking forward to serving before returning to political life.
“I love our country. I love being able to serve our country in so many ways, including as a soldier,” Gabbard said.
“I’m not really thinking about how this will impact my campaign.”
“So, while some people are telling me, like, ‘Gosh, this is a terrible time to leave the campaign, can’t you find a way out of it,’ you know, that’s not what this is about.”
“I’m not really thinking about how this will impact my campaign,” Gabbard continued. “I’m looking forward to being able to fulfill my service and my responsibility.”
Gabbard said she knows the deadline to qualify for the next primary debate is soon and she hasn’t met the thresholds for inclusion, but said that “there’s a lot” that’s out of her control.
As Tulsi Gabbard leaves the campaign trail for 2 weeks to report for active duty, here she is talking about personal experiences of people she's served alongside… pic.twitter.com/Mn2Fp1Thfa
— Don (@soxinabox21) August 12, 2019
Gabbard has met her donor mark of 130,000 individual donors, but she still needs to register at least 2 percent or higher in recognized polls.
“I’ll be paying attention to obviously what’s going on, and watching the news, and keeping up on things, but I will be stepping away from the campaign and relying on my campaign team to do what they do,” Gabbard said, explaining that she will not be able to check in with her campaign during her time on active duty.
Gabbard has made clear her time in the military is part of what drives her in her congressional role.
“I think it’s an added value in bringing these two different perspectives together — those of the policymakers in Washington and that of a soldier that is charged with executing the mission that they’re charged with,” she said.
While Gabbard has many left-wing views that most conservatives abhor, she has pushed a strong anti-war message during the 2020 primaries, making many of these same criticisms of America’s wars overseas that President Donald Trump has done, particularly regarding the failed Iraq War.
It’s a message more of her fellow Democrats should note, especially when coming from someone in uniform.
This piece by The Political Insider is used by permission.
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