Gabbard taking two weeks off from campaign trail to report for active duty

Gabbard taking two weeks off from campaign trail to report for active duty
© Greg Nash

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFinancial firms facing serious hacking threat in COVID-19 era Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D) is taking two weeks off the presidential campaign trail to report for active duty. 

Gabbard told CBS News in an interview released Monday that she will be joining a training exercise mission in Indonesia. 

“I love our country, I love being able to serve our country in so many ways, including as a soldier. So while some people are telling me, like, ‘Gosh, this is a terrible time to leave the campaign, can you find a way out of it?’ You know, that's not what this is about," Gabbard, who's considered a long-shot candidate, said.

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“I’m not really thinking about how this will impact my campaign, I’m looking forward to fulfill my service, my responsibility.” 

A Gabbard campaign spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. 

The joint training exercise will focus on humanitarian aid, disaster response and counterterrorism, Gabbard told CBS. 

Gabbard served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005, and served in Kuwait from 2008 to 2009. 

She is one of three Democrats in the crowded primary field who have military experience, along with South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hires top aides for Pennsylvania Democratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights Democrats debate Biden effort to expand map against Trump MORE and former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.). 

Some Democrats have criticized Gabbard for an announced trip she took to Syria in 2017 to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Aleppo. Her primary opponent Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTammy Duckworth hits back at Tucker Carlson: 'Walk a mile in my legs' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark Judd Gregg: The coming Biden coup MORE (D-Calif.) called Gabbard an "apologist" for Assad. 

"I have no regrets and make no apologies for pursuing diplomacy, understanding that the only alternatives to diplomacy is war," she told CBSN. "We need leaders who will have the courage to meet with brutal dictators, to meet with adversaries in the pursuit of our national security, in the pursuit of keeping the American people safe, and in the pursuit of peace."