Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says she is running for president in 2020

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says she is running for president in 2020

Inspired by the party's strong showing in the November midterms, a number of Democrats are eager to challenge Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran who met dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria during that country's devastating civil war, said Friday that she is launching a U.S. presidential bid.

She added, "There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision".

She is the first Hindu member of Congress and its first Samoan American member, and she sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

A veteran of the Iraq war, she recently made stops in both Iowa and New Hampshire - vital early voting states - and looked into hiring digital staff and speechwriters.

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U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) waves after making a nomination speech for Senator Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 26, 2016. Her endorsement came in dramatic fashion, with her resigning as a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to express her support. That meeting offered a preview of Gabbard's potential pitch for 2020, with the congresswoman decrying poverty and war and calling for a politics that focused on what people had in common. She served in a medical unit of the Hawaii National Guard and was deployed in Kuwait and Iraq. She's opposed to military intervention, and drew criticism in 2017 for meeting during a secret trip with Syrian President Bashar Assad whose oppressive regime has allegedly used chemical weapons on its own people. That led to more critical attention to Gabbard's foreign policy views, though a few months into the Trump administration, she rejected praise from the president and his allies.

Republicans wasted no time Friday in going after her.

Tulsi Gabbard says she has chose to run for president and will hold a formal announcement within the next week. In January, she met with Assad without informing leaders in her party, and she dismissed his opposition ― including rebels backed by the United States ― as "terrorists".

In recent weeks, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was the first serious Democrat presidential contender to launch a White House exploratory committee. Gabbard would likely fight for attention in the race with other big names in the party, like former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. So if you were thinking Gabbard was looking for a VP slot on the Kamala Harris ticket, that's probably out now.

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