Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate, voted “present” on both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, making her the only member of the chamber not to vote “yes” or “no.”
Gabbard’s vote did not put imperil the almost certain House impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
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“One may not always agree with my decision, but everyone should know that I will always do what I believe to be right for the country that I love,” she said. “After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no,” Gabbard stated.
Gabbard refused to speak with reporters after her vote. She said that while she deduced that Trump was guilty on both accords, she could not vote “yes,” because the process was partisan and “fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”
Gabbard then took a jab at both the Republican and Democratic parties, accusing the GOP of having “abdicated their responsibility to exercise legitimate oversight, and instead blindly do the bidding of their party’s leader.” In addition, she attacked the Democratic party, stating, “[their] extreme rhetoric was never conducive to an impartial fact-finding process.”
Additionally, Gabbard pointed out the censure resolution she had introduced. She claimed it would “send a strong message to this President and future presidents that their abuses of power will not go unchecked, while leaving the question of removing Trump from office to the voters to decide.”
She then asserted, “I am confident that the American people will decide to deliver a resounding rebuke of President Trump’s innumerable improprieties and abuses,” she continued. “And they will express that judgment at the ballot box. That is the way real and lasting change has always occurred in this great country: through the forcefully expressed will of the people.”
Trump was impeached by the House on Wednesday evening. Five Democratic presidential candidates will sit as jurors – Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders.