Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard officially announced her bid for the presidency today among friends, family and throngs of supporters at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.
Hundreds gathered in the hot midday sun. The event was called the Aloha launch with Gabbard promising to use aloha as a way to unite the country.
Her resounding message, built on service before self.
“I’m asking you to join me. I’m asking you to stand with me to build a movement of peace,” Gabbard said.
She didn’t hold back. Calling out the current administration.
“We must stand up against this administration that claims to believe in America first but who sells our troops, our weapons and our interests to whichever foreign country is the highest bidder,” Gabbard said.
That antiwar sentiment is one of the things her supporters love most about her.
“You can’t just have military action like that. I like that she’s thoughtful.I like that she’s going to lead our country in a strong way but not be with the pro-war groups on both sides,” explained Tyler Hitch, one of Gabbards supporters.
Gabbard has faced harsh criticism and political analysts say she is a long shot in this race.
Her father Senator Mike Gabbard said she is prepared to face any challenge.
“She’s a soldier. One of the things she told me when she got back from her two deployments is, I asked how does it compare, Washington DC to your deployment? She said dad it’s just different kinds of bullets flying by,” he said.
KHON briefly caught up with Gabbard as she greeted her supporters after her speech.
KHON: “You wanted everybody to stand up with you. Do you think that’s going to happen?”
“We have our work cut out for us, but I have no doubt that when we stand together with this spirit of aloha there’s no challenge that we can’t overcome,” Gabbard said.
KHON: “There’s a lot of nay-sayers. And it’s a tough race, one of the most crowded democratic races so far, your thoughts on that?”
“We’re focused on how we can best bring real solutions to the challenges that people are facing in this country. Challenges that I spoke about in my speech, and I know that there is nothing more powerful than when the people rise up and make sure that our voices are heard fighting for each other, fighting for our country, fighting for what’s right.”