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 GabbardProgressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition YouTube rival Rumble strikes deals with Tulsi Gabbard, Glenn Greenwald 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 ButtigiegOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Blumenthal calls on Buttigieg to investigate American Airlines-JetBlue partnership LGBT film festival to premiere documentary about Pete Buttigieg 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 HarrisStefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' Live coverage: California voters to decide Newsom's fate Florida woman faces five years in prison for threatening to kill Harris 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."