Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) criticized members of her own party on Monday for using identity politics to advance their own political agenda over the unity of American citizens.
“I think that the identity politics that are being used to further divide us, to further drive separations between us, and purely for selfish, political gain is a real danger,” Gabbard told host Dave Rubin during an appearance on “The Rubin Report.”
“It undermines that unity that we have that doesn’t come with groupthink or saying ‘well, hey, we’re all exactly the same, we think the same way,'” she continued. “Not at all, it’s that unity that we have in recognizing our diversity and our strength in who we are as Americans and the principles and freedoms that make up the bedrock of our country.”
Gabbard’s remarks came after she was asked about the first of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) debate series where three of her presidential challengers spoke Spanish while appearing on the debate state. The move was largely seen as pandering to Spanish-speaking voters.
“We did a Fourth of July parade, a bunch of them actually, in New Hampshire,” Gabbard told Rubin. “It was right after that first set of debates and it made an impact on me — there was a woman who was sitting with her family and friends at the end of one of the parades.”
“We stopped and we said hi and she was from Central America and she made it a point to pull me aside and she put her hands on my arms, she was very serious and she said ‘whatever you do in a future debate, don’t speak Spanish,'” Gabbard continued. “She found that to be so patronizing and blatantly so.”
While the Hawaii congresswoman barely stood out amid the crowded stage during the first set of debates, she made waves during the second debates after she challenged Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) record on criminal prosecutions. The exchange was largely considered to be one of the night’s most critical moments and fruitful lines of attack. In the aftermath, Harris took a significant hit in the polls.
However, Gabbard failed to qualify for the third debate in Houston, Texas. While she was able to swiftly meet the fundraising threshold, she was ultimately two DNC-approved polls short of receiving an invitation to participate.
Gabbard’s campaign slammed the DNC for issuing arbitrary rules and further urged for transparency within the process, especially when it comes to which polls the organization considers to be “certifiable.”
“The Democratic National Committee has the responsibility to facilitate more conversations between the future leaders of the country, not less,” her campaign wrote in a statement. “Notably, there have been only four qualifying polls released after the second Democratic primary debate compared with the fourteen qualifying polls released in the months after the first Democratic primary debate.”
During her interview with Rubin, she echoed her concerns and stated that because of the DNC’s selection of polls that are or are not included as a benchmark, she is unsure if she will be able to make up ground.
“I don’t know, I honestly don’t know,” Gabbard replied when asked if she would be able to qualify for the fourth debate. “We’ll see because it’s not about are we going to be able to get to where we need to in the polls — there are 27 polls that are out, credible polls that show that I’ve met the standard set by the DNC, but they’ve just chosen not to recognize most of them.”