Former Hawaii Democratic governor calls on Gabbard to resign
Former Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) on Monday called on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) to resign from Congress, citing her “present” vote on impeaching President Trump and absence from Capitol Hill due to her presidential campaign.
“I feel very strongly the 2nd District of Hawaii must be fully represented,” Abercrombie, a Democrat who previously served in the House for nearly two decades, said at a press conference, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat.
Abercrombie said Gabbard should step down and allow a special election to fill her seat. Gabbard, who has served in the House since 2013, has already said that she will not seek reelection to focus on her presidential campaign.
Abercrombie served as Hawaii’s governor from 2010 to 2014.
According to GovTrack, Gabbard has missed about 86 percent of House votes in the last three months.
Gabbard’s office pushed back against Abercrombie, citing her “major legislative wins” for her district including “opportunities for defense contracting for Native Hawaiian companies” and “better reporting on Red Hill aquifer protection.”
“Hawaiʻi is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s home and her heart,” communications director T. Ilihia Gionson said in a statement.
“Her pursuit of the highest office in the land has not compromised her and her team’s commitment to serving the people of Hawaiʻi in her fourth term in Congress.”
Gabbard has faced backlash from her party for voting “present” on the two articles of impeachment against Trump last week that alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponents and stall Democrats’ inquiry.
Gabbard is considered a long shot to win the Democratic presidential nomination and did not qualify for last week’s debate. She is currently polling at less than 2 percent nationally, according to a polling average from RealClearPolitics.
Gabbard justified her decision to vote “present” on the articles of impeachment by arguing that she was “standing in the center” and called for a vote on her resolution to censure Trump instead.
“I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing,” Gabbard said in a lengthy statement last week. “I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”
Other Democrats in Congress expressed irritation at Gabbard’s vote, including another fellow Hawaiian, Sen. Mazie Hirono.
“She apparently can’t decide whether the president has shaken down the president of another country for his own political purposes,” Hirono told The Hill last week. “She hasn’t been able to decide whether that’s okay or not.”
Gabbard also butted heads with Hirono earlier this year after she implicitly accused her home-state senator and other Democrats of having “weaponized religion for their own selfish gain” in their questioning of a judicial nominee.
Updated at 11:42 p.m.