U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is expected to call for President Donald Trump to be censured over the Ukraine scandal as the full House of Representatives readies to vote Wednesday on two articles of impeachment.
The lesser punishment is a longshot.
The House needs a simple majority to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. As of today, the House had surpassed the necessary 216 votes, according to a New York Times tally.
If the censure resolution fails, which is expected, it’s not clear how Gabbard will vote on impeachment. Her congressional office did not respond to media inquiries on Monday or today.
Gabbard’s plan to introduce a resolution censuring the president was reported today by ABC News. Gabbard’s office did not respond to a request for a copy of the resolution, but it’s expected to suggest the president put personal gain over national interest.
Gabbard, who is running for president, has courted independent and Republican voters and her move to censure the president could help her among moderate, swing-state voters.
Gabbard is not the only Democrat in the House who has supported censure. A small group of vulnerable Democrats who represent districts that Trump won in 2016 have also floating the idea, Politico reported last week.
Gabbard was reluctant to push for impeachment proceedings.
In September, she said that a partial transcript of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president didn’t show a compelling case for impeachment and that such an inquiry would be too divisive for the country. However, Gabbard quickly changed her stance after reviewing a whistleblower complaint and Inspector General memo, saying that not supporting an impeachment inquiry would set a “very dangerous precedent.”
In recent days she indicated she was undecided on whether she would vote to impeach Trump.
State Sen. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), who is running for Gabbard’s House seat, criticized the censure resolution as a “political stunt” and said Gabbard hasn’t checked in with constituents about their views on the matter.
“The bottom line is that she has been absent ever since she announced she wasn’t going to seek reelection. She just hasn’t shown up for work,” said Kahele, who said he supports impeachment.
“She hasn’t been here in the second congressional district to hear from her constituents about how they feel about impeachment. She has been absent from Washington D.C. and Congress during this entire process and the second congressional district continues to miss vital votes leaving the second congressional district voiceless,” he said.
Gabbard has missed 89% of votes in the House since October, according to GovTrack.us.
Gabbard announced in October that she would not seek reelection to her House seat next year and instead would focus on her presidential bid. Her term runs through the end of 2020.