Another Democrat is jumping into the quickly forming 2020 Democratic presidential primary contest.
Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said in an interview on Friday that she has decided to run for the White House and will be make a formal announcement over the next week.
“There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision,” Gabbard told CNN. “There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I’m concerned about and that I want to help solve.”
Gabbard, 37, was elected in 2012. She was a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard and served two tours of duty in the Middle East. She has visited early primary and caucus states New Hampshire and Iowa in recent months and has written a memoir that’s due to be published in May.
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Gabbard first emerged on the national stage as one of the few lawmakers in Washington to back Bernie Sanders’ underdog candidacy in 2016 against Hillary Clinton during the last presidential primary campaign. Her endorsement came in dramatic fashion, with her resigning as a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to express her support.
Indeed, Gabbard has rankled some in her party for her unorthodox moves. After Donald Trump was elected, she met with the then president-elect to discuss the war in Syria.
Last year, Gabbard came under intense criticism — including from some Democrats – for traveling to that country and meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose government lawmakers have accused of war crimes and even genocide during that country’s brutal civil war.
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Gabbard has also made headlines for referring to President Trump as “Saudi Arabia’s b—-,” after the president argued for the importance of a strong U.S-Saudi relationship amid calls for him to take a tougher stance on the kingdom in response to the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Republicans wasted no time Friday in going after her.
“Tulsi Gabbard has an even bigger problem than her lack of experience – it’s that she has no base of support,” Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens said. “Liberals think she’s too conservative, conservatives think she’s too liberal, and just about everyone thinks her coziness with Bashar al-Assad is disturbing.”
In recent weeks, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro have both announced exploratory committees. Gabbard would likely fight for attention in the race with other big names in the party, like former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and California Sen. Kamala Harris. Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney has already announced a campaign.
Fox News’ Amy Lieu and The Associated Press contributed to this report.