Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced on New Year's Eve that she was forming an exploratory committee for a potential run, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro did the same earlier this week. A source close to Gabbard confirmed to CBS News that she is running. She was one of a handful of Democrats who met with Trump during the presidential transition, amid speculation that she could become United Nations ambassador or secretary of state.
"There is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace", Gabbard told Jones.
"While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the US District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher's Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus", Gabbard wrote in a newspaper op-ed. "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 added.
Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens dismissed Gabbard's White House announcement, saying that the Hawaii Democrat has no voter base.
The 37-year-old Iraq War veteran is the first Hindu elected to Congress and the first member of Congress born in the U.S. territory of American Samoa. "The Gita has been a tremendous source of inner peace and strength for me through many tough challenges in life, including being in the midst of death and turmoil while serving our country in the Middle East, " she explained.
Gabbard was one of the most prominent lawmakers to back Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary. She is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of Congress. Gabbard moved to Hawaii when she was two and embraced Hinduism as a teenager and is well-versed in the scriptures, PTI reported.
Her views are already attracting an army of trolls on social media who regard her as an outlier. "I look forward to talking with you more about this in the coming days". "I'm seriously thinking of how I can best be of service to our country", she told Concord Monitor News reporter Paul Steinhauser before meeting with Rockingham County Democrats.
The 2020 presidential primary cycle is scheduled to kick off from the Iowa Caucuses on February 3, 2020, followed by the New Hampshire Primary on February 11, Nevada caucus of February 15 and SC on February 22.
Rania Batrice, who was a deputy campaign manager for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and is now a top aide to Gabbard, will be the campaign manager, Batrice says.
Gabbard also faced intense criticism, including from members of her own party, for meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a trip to Syria in 2017. Former Vice President Joe Biden and former Rep. Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (D-TX) are also reportedly considering running for president.