Gabbard drops out of 2020 race
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) dropped out of the 2020 presidential contest Thursday, endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden in what is now officially a two-man primary with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Gabbard’s withdrawal comes after dismally low finishes in every primary and caucus held thus far. She only garnered two delegates in total, both from American Samoa’s caucuses.
Speculation has swirled over whether Sanders, too, will withdraw in the face of a seemingly unstoppable winning spree by the former vice president.
Gabbard cited Biden’s recent successes while announcing she is suspending her campaign, saying it was clear that Democratic voters have made their choice for a presidential nominee.
“After Tuesday’s election, it is clear that Democratic Primary voters have chosen Vice President Joe Biden to be the person who will take on President Trump in the general election,” she said.
Gabbard, who backed Sanders’s 2016 presidential bid, joined several other former 2020 contenders in endorsing Biden this time.
“Although I may not agree with the Vice President on every issue, I know that he has a good heart and is motivated by his love for our country and the American people. I’m confident that he will lead our country guided by the spirit of aloha — respect and compassion — and thus help heal the divisiveness that has been tearing our country apart,” she said.
“So today, I’m suspending my presidential campaign, and offering my full support to Vice President Joe Biden in his quest to bring our country together.”
Gabbard also extended her “best wishes” to Sanders and his campaign, saying she respects his “sincere desire to improve the lives of all Americans. “
The Hawaii Democrat persisted in her White House bid even after several other politicians who had polled higher and had heftier campaign accounts called it quits. Her withdrawal removes the final female candidate and last person of color from what started as a historically diverse primary field.
The Iraq War veteran and first Hindu member of Congress was forced to contend throughout her campaign with issues that had long made her a loner within the Democratic Party, including her past anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and infamous 2017 meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is held responsible for hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths in his country’s civil war.
Gabbard raised eyebrows throughout the campaign with clashes with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, who accused her of being “a Russian asset” and planning a third-party bid in an interview last year.
“She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset, I mean totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate,” Clinton said.
Gabbard sued Clinton for defamation over those comments in January.
Gabbard’s political future is unclear — she declared last year she would not run for reelection for her House seat.
The Hawaii lawmaker thanked her campaign Thursday and said she would have conversations in the coming days regarding how to move forward.
“To the many people across our country who dedicated their time, energy, and resources to my campaign, working tirelessly to get our message out, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “I look forward to speaking to you more in the coming days about why I made this decision and how we can continue to work together for our common cause.”
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