Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D, Hawaii, is making national headlines for saying she has been asked not to attend Tuesday’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas.
The Congresswoman has a history of voicing opinions that are not in step with her party or the White House administration.
She told KHON2 a recent statement, that there should be more than the six sanctioned debates that are now scheduled, will keep her from attending the first Democratic debate in Nevada.
Gabbard says she was contacted by representatives of the Democratic National Committee’s chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D, Florida, asking her to change her view on how many debates should be held or choose not to attend.
“The president has never directly or indirectly tried to take retribution against me or to tell me not to stand up for what I believe in. The opposite has occurred here and I think it’s unfortunate,” Gabbard said.
Gabbard tells us she will not be attending the debate, even after receiving an invitation from Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, which she says she politely declined.
Because of this latest incident, KHON2 asked if she was committed to the Democratic party. Gabbard replied, “I am a Democrat, period.”
KHON2 asked John Hart, a communications professor at Hawaii Pacific University, if he believes Gabbard has any plans to leave the party in the future.
“Yes, I think this is true,” he said. “This is something I’ve thought of early on. I thought, is she moving to be a Republican? No one I know believes she is. I certainly think it’s a big tent in the party and she can feel free to disagree and she often does.”
So is there anything that could change her mind and cause her to get on a plane to Las Vegas for Tuesday’s debate?
“Sure. Agree to more debates,” Gabbard said. “I’m not going to step down my call, which has been echoed by at least one other vice chair of the DNC, which has been echoed by many of the candidates that are running for president, which has been echoed by the American people, people all over the country.”
KHON2 also reached out to the Democratic National Committee and has yet to hear back.