Tulsi Gabbard surprised aides with presidential announcement: report

Tulsi Gabbard surprised aides with presidential announcement: report
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) surprised her own aides when she announced earlier this month on CNN that she planned to run for president in 2020, according to Politico

Politico reported Tuesday that Gabbard's team was "blindsided" when she made the announcement in an interview with CNN's Van Jones on Jan. 11. Gabbard's campaign website was not yet ready to go live, social media posts weren't prepared and a launch video hadn't been approved, according to Politico. 

"I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," Gabbard said at the time.

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The announcement resulted in her aides "working frantically" that Friday night, Politico reported.

Gabbard is planning to hold a rally in Hawaii this weekend to formally launch her campaign, but the Politico report describes the campaign as already being in disarray. 

According to the report, Gabbard's campaign manager Rania Batrice and her consulting firm Revolution Messaging are planning to depart the campaign after the formal launch on Saturday. Politico also notes that Gabbard is under fire in Hawaii after clashing earlier this month with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

Since announcing her bid, Gabbard has also faced criticism for previously associating with anti-LGBTQ stances -- for which she has apologized -- and for meeting in 2017 with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.