Tulsi Gabbard to report for active duty for 2 weeks
WASHINGTON – Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, will take a break from her campaign beginning Monday to report for active duty in Indonesia with the Hawaii Army National Guard for two weeks.
In an interview with CBS News, Gabbard said that she will be doing a joint training exercise mission in Indonesia with that country’s military. She said the training will focus on counterterrorism, humanitarian aid and disaster response. She will depart on Wednesday for Indonesia.
While in Indonesia, Gabbard said she will not be campaigning.
“I love our country, I love being able to serve our country in so many ways, including as a soldier,” she said. “While some people are telling me, ‘this is a terrible time to leave the campaign, can’t you find a way out of it,’ you know, that’s not what this is about.
“I’m not really thinking about how this will impact my campaign, I’m looking forward to being able to fulfill my service and my responsibility,” she continued.
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Gabbard, who is a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, said she will still “be paying attention obviously to what’s going on and watching the news and keeping up on things.” Gabbard was deployed to Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and to Kuwait in 2008 and 2009.
The two-week training comes as her presidential primary competitors are ramping up campaigning ahead of the next Democratic primary debate in September. So far, only 9 candidates have qualified for the next debate, which will be held at Texas Southern University in Houston on Sept. 12 and 13. Gabbard has yet to qualify for the debate.
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Throughout the campaign, the Hawaii congresswoman has pointed to her experience in the military to make the argument that she is the best candidate to be commander in chief.
When asked if she’s worried about not being able to use the next couple of weeks to try to make it onto the debate stage, Gabbard said that it’s “out of my control.”
“We’ll just have to see what happens,” she said.
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