U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says she will vote for Hillary Clinton for president in November, but was tempered in her support as she reiterated her concerns with the former secretary of state’s Middle East policies.
“Given the remaining choices, like Bernie Sanders, I will be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton,” she said in an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Friday. “Moving forward, as a veteran and someone who knows firsthand the cost of war, I am going to continue to push for an end to counterproductive interventionist wars and lead our country toward a path toward peace.”
Gabbard broke with the Democratic establishment in February to endorse Sanders, resigning from her post as a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to do so. She became a prominent figure in the Sanders movement, nominating him for president during a speech last week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Democratic Party leaders have been trying to rally Sanders supporters behind Clinton in hopes of defeating Republican nominee Donald Trump — a task that has become increasingly challenging in light of recently leaked emails that appear to confirm suspicions that party leadership favored Clinton during the primary. The DNC is supposed to remain impartial during Democratic primaries.
The hacked emails, released by WikiLeaks on the eve of the Democratic National Convention last month, set off a firestorm among Sanders supporters who protested outside the convention hall.
The emails prompted DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to announce her resignation last month. On Tuesday three other top officials at the DNC announced that they too will leave their posts.
Gabbard had been silent throughout the convention about whether she would throw her support to Clinton, even as Sanders was effusive in praising her.
As late as June, when Clinton was already the presumptive party nominee, Gabbard remained reluctant to give her endorsement.
“I am not prepared to do that,” she told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “There are a lot of things that I’m looking at, in particular this issue that she has not moved on at all in this campaign, which is this commitment to continue this interventionist regime change policy in Syria that is proving to be so disastrous.”
As for the resignations of leaders of the Democratic National Committee, Gabbard maintains it’s a good thing. She said she was particularly bothered by an email from chief finance officer Brad Marshall questioning Sanders’ Jewish faith and whether the candidate could lose support in the South if he were to be portrayed as an atheist.
“Religious bigotry like this has no place in the Democratic Party,” Gabbard said. “It’s the kind of thing you’d expect from Donald Trump.”