February 02, 2019
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) officially joined the race for for president on Saturday afternoon at a rally in her home state hosted weeks after she announced her campaign on CNN.
Gabbard took aim at America's foreign policy establishment in her campaign announcement Saturday, blaming politicians in "ivory towers" for U.S. involvement in costly armed conflicts abroad.
"We must stand against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage & new places for people to die. Wasting trillions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives, undermining our economy and security, and destroying our middle class," Gabbard said during her address.
"These powerful politicians dishonor the sacrifices made by every one of our service members, and their families - they are the ones who pay the price for these wars," she added.
The Hawaii lawmaker pointed to her service in the state's Army National Guard as a reason for her desire to seek public office.
"It is this principle of service above self, that is at the heart of every soldier," Gabbard told a cheering crowd. "At the heart of every service number. And it is in this spirit, that today I announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America."
Gabbard's announcement last month during an interview with CNN's Van Jones placed her in the middle of a crowded and growing field of Democratic candidates vying for the party's nomination, a list which includes Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
She faces an uphill battle against candidates with established support from other members of Congress, some of whom have already expressed skepticism towards Gabbard's presidential ambitions.
Gabbard has particularly faced criticism for her involvement with her father's opposition to LGBT rights and her previous meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), the state's senior senator, appeared to dismiss the prospect of supporting Gabbard's candidacy during an MSNBC interview, telling an interviewer that she would be "looking for someone who has a long record of supporting progressive goals."
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