Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic presidential candidate who serves in her state’s National Guard, will step away from her White House campaign Monday to report for active duty, participating in a two-week joint training exercise in Indonesia.
“We’ll be doing a training exercise with the Indonesian military, focused on a few different things like counterterrorism, humanitarian aid and disaster response and joining my brothers and sisters from the Hawaii National Guard in doing so,” Gabbard told CBS News in an interview that aired Monday.
Gabbard, a three-term lawmaker, served two tours in the Middle East with the Hawaii Army National Guard — in Iraq from 2004-2005 and in Kuwait from 2008-2009. She is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and sat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the previous Congress.
"I love our country. I love being able to serve our country in so many ways, including as a soldier," Gabbard said. "And so while some people are telling me, like, ‘Gosh, 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."
Gabbard has made her military experience a centerpiece of her presidential bid, touting her qualifications to become commander in chief and denouncing “regime change wars” and “the gunboat diplomacy of the past.”
Click Here: Tienda Monterrey
But Gabbard’s foreign policy credentials have come under attack from fellow Democrats critical of her 2017 meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has attacked his own people with chemical weapons.
Gabbard is among a handful of 2020 Democratic White House aspirants who are military veterans, along with South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts; and former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania.