Tulsi Gabbard ends presidential run, endorses Biden

Gabbard announced her White House bid in January of last year and was the first female combat veteran to run for president.
Image: Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard speaks during the Presidential Gun Sense Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 10, 2019.Scott Morgan / Reuters file

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By Julia Jester

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, has suspended her campaign for president.

In a video posted to Twitter on Thursday, she said was endorsing Joe Biden for president.

"It's clear that Democratic primary voters have chosen, Vice President Joe Biden, to be the person who will take on President Trump in the general election," she said, adding that, "I'm confident that he will lead our country, guided by the spirit of aloha respect and compassion, and thus help heal the divisiveness that has been tearing our country apart."

Gabbard, 38, announced her White House bid in January of last year and was the first female combat veteran to run for president.

In her announcement on Thursday, she noted she would continue her military service.

“The best way that I can be of service at this time is to continue to work for the health and well-being of the people of Hawaii and our country in Congress, and to stand ready to serve in uniform should the Hawaii National Guard be activated," she said.

The Hawaii congresswoman ran on a foreign policy-focused message of ending endless wars and taking on America’s military industrial complex, and promoting non-interventionism. Although she supported other progressive ideas such as a “single payer-plus” health care proposal and marijuana legalization, she did not release detailed policy proposals during her presidential campaign.

Gabbard last qualified for a Democratic debate in November. Her meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad and past anti-LGBT beliefs faced scrutiny from both her Democratic rivals and debate moderators.

Gabbard ran an unconventional campaign, in which she employed fewer than a dozen full-time staffers, relied largely on an unpaid volunteer network and invested heavily in billboard advertising.

After Hillary Clinton suggested Gabbard was a Russian asset in a podcast interview, Gabbard filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against the former secretary of state.

“It should have been for $50 billion,” she told NBC News. “This is who I am. And so to so directly dismiss the value, the honor, the loyalty and sacrifices, not only for me, but for any service member in this country, it can't go unchecked.”

As Gabbard made national headlines by suing Clinton and voting “present” on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, she leaned into local retail politics, particularly in New Hampshire, where she held more than 100 town halls and business visits.

She stayed active on the trail by posting her workouts on Instagram, surfing in winter weather and snowboarding with supporters.

“They appreciate being able to meet a presidential candidate out and having some fun, and going where people are hanging out, rather than just the usual traditional political haunts,” Gabbard said on the slopes in New Hampshire.

Gabbard recently started a podcast featuring voters she met on the campaign trail. She announced in the fall that she would not seek reelection to a fifth term in the House of Representatives, but rather would focus on her presidential aspirations.

The last female candidate to exit the primary, Gabbard left the race with just two delegates.