Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) defended her position on Wednesday not to impeach President Donald Trump even in the wake of the White House releasing a transcript between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I think when you step outside of the bubble here in Washington and you get to where most folks in the country are — look, I’m not a lawyer, but I think most people reading through that transcript are not going to find that extremely compelling cause to throw out a president that won an election in 2016,” Gabbard said during an appearance on Hill.TV. “Instead, I think what most people will see is, hey, this is another move by Democrats to get rid of Donald Trump, further deepening the already hyper-partisan divides that we have in this country.”
“Look, Donald Trump is corrupt. He is unfit to serve our country as president. He is unqualified to serve our country as commander-in-chief,” she continued. “I am running for president to defeat him. I just think it is so important for our country to be able to move forward, to bridge these divides, that it be the American people that make this decision.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced late Tuesday that her Democratic caucus would be moving forward with an impeachment inquiry after reports emerged that Trump urged Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden by withholding the country’s foreign aid. At the time, the reports were not confirmed, but the White House announced that it would be releasing a transcript of the two leaders’ exchange the following day.
While many of her Democratic colleagues swiftly voiced support of Pelosi’s decision, Gabbard notably spoke out against the move. The Hawaii congresswoman contended that impeachment would be “terribly divisive” at a time when the United States is already very divided politically.
After the White House circulated the transcript of Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian president, Gabbard criticized Trump’s exchange as unsurprisingly corrupt, but maintained that the president should be removed from office through the ballot box rather than by Congress.
“He is using his position for his own political gain — I think that is very clear. It is also not surprising. I mean, this is something that Donald Trump has been doing throughout his time in the White House, both here in our domestic politics [and] in his relationships with other countries. So this is, again, just another example of his corruption and how self-serving he really is,” Gabbard said. “We need a president who will put the interests of the American people first and foremost, put the interest of our country first, and Donald Trump is not that guy.”
“The American people are aware of what is happening, they are seeing how this thing is playing out,” she continued. “I think it’s again most important for them to be the ones who make the decision about who our next president should be, understanding how self-serving this president is and why it’s important that we as a country — Democrats, Republicans, Independents — come together to defeat him.”