Tulsi Gabbard

Congresswoman from Hawaii
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Tulsi Gabbard dropped out of the presidential race on March 19, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Gabbard brings her experience as an Iraq War veteran to the presidential campaign and has staked out a distinctly anti-interventionist foreign policy. She was elected to Congress in 2012.
Hawaii Pacific University, B.S., 2009
April 12, 1981
Abraham Williams; divorced from Eduardo Tamayo
Major, Hawaii National Guard, 2003-present;
Honolulu City Council, 2010-2012;
Legislative aide to Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, 2006-2009;
Hawaii State House, 2002-2004


Tulsi Gabbard Fast Facts
Updated 2:01 PM ET, Mon Apr 5, 2021
Here's a look at the life of former US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Gabbard represented Hawaii's 2nd District. Personal Birth date: April 12, 1981 Birth place: Leloaloa, American Samoa Birth name: Tulsi Gabbard Father: Mike Gabbard, Hawaii state senator Mother: Carol (Porter) Gabbard, former Hawaii Board of Education member Marriages: Abraham Williams (2015-present); Eduardo Tamayo (2002-2006, divorced) Education: Hawaii Pacific University, B.S.B.A., 2009 Military service: Hawaii Army National Guard, 2003-present, Major Religion: Hinduism Other Facts As a teenager, co-founded Healthy Hawai'i Coalition, an environmental non-profit. She is the first American Samoan congresswoman and first practicing Hindu member of the US Congress. She is an avid surfer. Timeline 2002 - At age 21, is elected to the Hawaii State House to represent West Oahu, making her the youngest woman ever elected to the state legislature. 2003 - Enlists in the Hawaii Army National Guard. She completes her basic training between legislative sessions. 2004-2005 - Gabbard's unit is activated, and she voluntarily deploys, serving with a field medical unit in Iraq. 2006-2009 - Legislative aide to Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii. 2007 - Graduates from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy. This makes Gabbard the first woman in the Academy's 50-year history to earn the title of the distinguished honor graduate. 2008-2009 - Gabbard deploys to Kuwait, training counterterrorism units. November 2, 2010 - Is elected to the Honolulu City Council. 2011 - Founds the film production company, Kanu Productions. November 6, 2012 - Defeats David "Kawika" Crowley in the 2nd Congressional District of Hawaii for the US House of Representatives. January 22, 2013 - Elected vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. August 28, 2013 - Aniruddha Sherbow is apprehended in Tijuana, Mexico, after making threats against Gabbard that the FBI and US Capitol Police "deemed credible." Sherbow is later sentenced to 33 months in prison. October 12, 2015 - On CNN's "The Situation Room," Gabbard says she was disinvited from a Democratic presidential debate after voicing a call for more of them. October 12, 2015 - Is promoted by the Hawaii Army National Guard from captain to major at a ceremony in Hawaii. November 20, 2015 - Calls for the United States to let Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remain in power. February 28, 2016 - On NBC's "Meet the Press," Gabbard announces her decision to step down as DNC vice chair to endorse Bernie Sanders' presidential bid. November 21, 2016 - Meets with President-elect Donald Trump. "President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face," Gabbard says in a statement. January 25, 2017 - Gabbard tells CNN's Jake Tapper that she met with Assad during an unannounced, four-day trip to Syria. "When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so because I felt that it's important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we've got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we can achieve peace," Gabbard says. January 31, 2017 - Facing criticism, Gabbard issues a statement saying that she will personally pay for her trip to Syria. April 7, 2017 - Gabbard claims she's "skeptical" that Assad's regime was behind a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens in Syria though the President, secretary of state and Pentagon officials found that Assad's regime was responsible for the attack. November 21, 2018 - Gabbard refers to Trump as "Saudi Arabia's bitch" in a tweet after he issues a statement backing Saudi Arabia in the wake of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. January 11, 2019 - Gabbard tells CNN's Van Jones she will run for president in 2020, during an interview slated to air on January 12. "There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I'm concerned about and that I want to help solve," she says. January 17, 2019 - Gabbard issues an apology for her past comments and actions against the LGBTQ community following CNN's earlier report that she had supported her father's anti-gay organization, The Alliance for Traditional Marriage. Gabbard had previously apologized in 2012 while running for Congress. January 20, 2019 - Gabbard says that she does not regret meeting with Assad in 2017, adding that American leaders must meet with foreign leaders "if we are serious about the pursuit of peace and securing our country." February 2, 2019 - Gabbard officially launches her 2020 presidential campaign at an event in Hawaii. October 17, 2019 - In a podcast interview, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton suggests that the Russians are "grooming" a current Democratic presidential candidate to run as a third-party and champion their interests. The comment appears to be directed at Gabbard, who has previously been accused of being boosted by Russia. In her response, Gabbard calls Clinton "the queen of warmongers," and concluded, "It's now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don't cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly." October 24, 2019 - Gabbard releases a campaign video announcing that she won't run for reelection to Congress in 2020. December 18, 2019 - Votes "present" on both articles of impeachment against Trump. January 22, 2020 - Gabbard files a defamation lawsuit against Clinton, alleging the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee "lied" about Gabbard's ties to Russia. March 19, 2020 - Ends her 2020 presidential campaign and endorses former Vice President Joe Biden. May 27, 2020 - Drops the defamation lawsuit she filed against Clinton.


climate crisis
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Gabbard introduced legislation in 2017 that would end fossil fuel subsidies and transition the US to 100% clean energy by 2035. That bill would prohibit “exports of domestically produced crude oil and natural gas, including liquefied natural gas,” and would establish an “equitable transition fund” to provide retraining and other services in order to mitigate job losses in fossil fuel industries. She is not a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Gabbard denounced Trump’s 2017 decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets. More on Gabbard’s climate crisis policy
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Gabbard has called for overhauling the tax system, which she says unfairly benefits the rich. She has called Trump’s 2017 tax cuts a “failure,” saying they did not provide relief to working Americans or small businesses. She co-sponsored recently passed House legislation raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Gabbard opposed the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiated under Obama, which Trump withdrew from early in his term. She has also opposed the President’s trade war against China, which she argues has “damaged, not helped” our economy. More on Gabbard’s economic policy
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Gabbard is a co-sponsor of the House version of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ College for All Act, which would make all two- and four-year public colleges free. Gabbard has said on Twitter that she supports paying for the measure by “taxing Wall Street.” More on Gabbard’s education policy
gun violence
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Gabbard has backed or co-sponsored legislation to ban so-called assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks. She also supports legislation to impose universal background checks on gun buyers. More on Gabbard’s gun violence policy
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Gabbard is among the co-sponsors of the House version of “Medicare for All” legislation, which would create a national public health insurance plan, but she has said she does not want to eliminate private insurance. She is also a co-sponsor of legislation allowing drug imports, as well as empowering Medicare to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers. Gabbard told The Washington Post that she supports allowing the federal government to produce and sell generic drugs. More on Gabbard’s health care policy
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Gabbard, who has made foreign policy a core issue of her candidacy, has blamed US intervention in Latin America for creating the instability that triggered the surge in migration across the southern US border. She’s a co-sponsor of several bills aimed at keeping migrant families together at the border. She also supports creating a path for undocumented immigrants to gain legal status, including some who were brought to the US as children. More on Gabbard’s immigration policy


Masks and vaccine mandate show CDC and Biden taking emergency action amid Covid-19 surge
Updated 11:26 PM ET, Tue Jul 27, 2021
The steps President Joe Biden's administration is adopting this week to re-recommend masks and require vaccines for federal workers amount to emergency actions designed to contain a new surge of Covid-19 that has quickly become the top issue confronting the White House. The moves reflect a dramatic shift from earlier messaging about the pandemic waning and signal the fight of Biden's presidency is far from over. Biden on Tuesday explicitly laid blame for the current situation on unvaccinated people -- an escalation of his use of the bully pulpit as he furiously searches with his team for ways to curb the spread of the virus. The White House and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are adjusting its tactics because of a surge in cases driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant and new information about transmission even by vaccinated people, multiple sources familiar with the matter said. The decisions were not taken lightly, administration officials said, and came after a series of meetings, including a Sunday evening session where the new mask guidelines and a vaccine requirement at the Department of Veterans Affairs were discussed among Biden's team. Officials from the CDC and other federal health agencies continued to brief White House officials into Monday. Biden is expected to deliver remarks on Thursday laying out more of his strategy, including the announcement of a vaccine requirement for all federal workers and contractors. He said Tuesday a vaccine requirement for all federal workers was under consideration. Officials said such a requirement wouldn't include dismissing those workers who remain unvaccinated; instead, new rules would require regular testing and masks for those who have refused shots, making life difficult for anyone who decides not to get a vaccine. White House staffers were back in masks on Tuesday, required to wear them regardless of vaccination status, per an official. Biden's aides said they were aware of the potential political fallout from the recent steps, and acknowledged privately that earlier resistance to vaccine requirements was based partly on the expectation it would spark backlash. But now, officials said health concerns should outweigh what many expect will be accusations of flip-flopping and harsh blowback from Republicans. Top officials pored through new data and evidence regarding transmissibility of the variant and breakthrough cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, briefed Biden on the changes Tuesday morning. Among the more significant announcements was a recommendation everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status. "If you're not vaccinated, you're not nearly as smart as I thought you were," Biden said on Tuesday, adopting a harsher tone against the still-hesitant he blamed for the continuing outbreaks. "We have a pandemic because the unvaccinated and they're sowing enormous confusion. And the more we learn about this virus and the Delta variation, the more we have to be worried and concerned. And there's only one thing we know for sure, if those other hundred million people got vaccinated, we'd be in a very different world," he said. One person close to the White House called the Veterans Affairs mandate a "watershed" moment, putting the federal government in the business of vaccine mandates in what this person described as a test case for more action. "Delta creates a different environment," this person said, explaining the White House's shift in tactics. "This should hopefully egg along the private sector." Ultimately, concerns about spikes in hospitalizations and deaths in unvaccinated Americans led to decisions officials acknowledge will be politically fraught. The VA said four of its employees had recently died from Covid-19 -- and that none had been vaccinated. On both masks and vaccine mandates, Biden officials have acknowledged privately that taking a forward-leaning stance will open the administration to political attacks. The President's aides rejected "vaccine passports" early in their tenure, aware the concept had become a lightning rod. But since then, as the vaccination campaign stalled, health experts have increasingly called for a more aggressive posture. In another sign of the growing concern over the Delta variant, the House of Representatives' attending physician sent out new guidance later Tuesday requiring that "well-fitted, medical grade" masks be worn in all interior spaces of the House in light of the new CDC guidance. "To be clear, for meetings in an enclosed US House of Representatives controlled space, masks are REQUIRED," Capitol Attending Physician Brian Monahan said in a memo. Worried over moving too slow Some of the administration's health officials were concerned the CDC was moving too slowly to update its mask guidance as the Delta variant ripped through communities, according to a senior administration official. White House officials have repeatedly said it would be up to the CDC whether to change official guidance and that they would follow the lead of health and medical experts. Two months ago, when the CDC updated its mask guidance saying most who are fully vaccinated could go without masks indoors, it moved so quickly that administration officials were informed less than a day before. Biden himself delivered a statement hailing the milestone. This time, officials said, the process moved in a more methodical way as the CDC decided how to proceed. A senior administration official said the decision was spurred by the more transmissible Delta variant. "It's based on the fact that the Delta variant is clearly more transmissible than the prior ones," the official said. New evidence also found that levels of virus found in the bodies of vaccinated people with breakthrough infections are similar to those found in unvaccinated individuals who contract coronavirus, raising concerns that vaccinated individuals may be able to spread the virus, the officials said. Versions of the virus that dominated in the past generally did not appear to be transmitted by people who had been fully vaccinated. "When you get information about risks and how to mitigate risks, there's a public health obligation to let people know about it," the official said. The White House is hoping that the new guidance will give local officials "a lot of cover" to implement new mask mandates where appropriate. It's still unknown whether the new steps will be effective. New recommendations for fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors apply to areas of the country with high rates of transmission. But many of the hardest-hit areas are places where mask wearing was already unusual. And some Republican governors -- many in Covid hot spots -- have declared they will not return to mask mandates. A psychological setback The new guidance comes about two months after Biden declared it a "great day in America" when the CDC revised its mask guidelines for vaccinated people and reflects a psychological setback for a country struggling to emerge from the grips of the pandemic. Still, the new steps are a sign that Biden and his team are looking for additional ways to contain a pandemic that is now entering a new phase because of the Delta variant. White House officials have been encouraged in recent days by upticks in vaccination rates, notably in states where caseloads are rising. But concerns over vaccine hesitancy remain, leading to new vaccine mandates for cities and states across the country. California said state employees and health care workers would need to get vaccinated or be tested regularly. New York City said its municipal workers would need to be vaccinated or face a test once a week. And in San Francisco, 500 bars said they'd require proof of vaccination or a negative test for all customers. VA vaccine mandate could be a key test After resisting implementing any vaccine mandates for federal workers or overseeing a vaccine credentialing system, the Biden administration dipped its toes in the business of compelling Americans to get vaccinated, beginning with a narrow requirement requiring Department of Veterans Affairs' health care workers be vaccinated. The White House views the VA mandate as a key test that could clear the way for other vaccine mandates within the federal government and which could encourage private sector entities to follow suit, two sources familiar with the decision said, but a national mandate is not feasible nor being contemplated. Biden administration health officials increasingly believe that making vaccination mandatory or unavoidable is the only way to break stalled vaccination rates that are keeping the US from reaching herd immunity. About 6% of adults said they would only get vaccinated if required, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's most recent monthly survey. Another 10% said they will "wait and see" before getting vaccinated. France saw a spike in vaccinations after that nation's president, Emmanuel Macron, said residents will need to be vaccinated or show a recent negative coronavirus test to enter restaurants and bars beginning next month. The White House has long resisted getting involved in coronavirus vaccine mandates and credentialing systems, fearing that doing so would only feed right-wing accusations of government overreach and undermine efforts to convince hesitant conservatives to get vaccinated. Heading in a tougher direction But stalled vaccination rates -- particularly in southern, conservative states -- are now propelling the White House in a different direction. "You don't pursue routes that we announced today until you've gone through and given people the opportunity to get vaccinated," one source close to the White House said, pointing to the importance of giving Americans the choice to get vaccinated before turning to harder-line tactics. On Monday, a collection of medical groups representing doctors, nurses and pharmacists called for mandatory vaccinations for US health care workers, writing, "The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it." Press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House supported that call. "These actions, in our view, are meant to keep patients and employees safe, and in fact I expect our own federal health care providers may look at similar requirements, as they do with other vaccines," she said. Asked whether such requirements could help improve vaccination rates, Psaki said they could. "It may," she said. "And beyond the President's goals, it may save lives, and that's the most important factor, in our view." Biden's powers to mandate shots among the wider public is limited. He could make them compulsory for members of the military but hasn't taken that step yet, as the three vaccines currently authorized for emergency