Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hi.), a 2020 presidential candidate, elaborated on her rationale for voting “present” on articles of impeachment against President Trump, telling ABC News impeachment proceedings will only “embolden” the president.
“I think impeachment, unfortunately, will only further embolden Donald Trump, increase his support and the likelihood that he’ll have a better shot at getting elected while also seeing the likelihood that the House will lose a lot of seats to Republicans,” Gabbard told ABC in New Hampshire Saturday.
Gabbard, who has announced she will not seek re-election to her House seat, said she was concerned Trump’s all-but-inevitable acquittal in the Republican Senate could ensure “lasting damage” in the event that Trump is re-elected and the GOP regains control of the House.
Gabbard was the only Democrat to vote “present” on the articles. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) voted no, while Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.), who also voted against them, made his plans to switch parties from Democratic to Republican a day later.
Gabbard has previously talked about her intention to introduce a resolution censuring the president.
Immediately after the vote, she blasted what she called both parties’ “zero sum mindset,” saying “I am standing in the center and have decided to vote present, because I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing.”