WASHINGTON — Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard suspended her presidential campaign Thursday and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.
Gabbard made the announcement in a 4-minute video in which she compared the current coronavirus pandemic to the 9/11 terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda and said that it was important for Americans to stand together in defeating a “common enemy.”
She also said that it was clear after Tuesday’s elections that Democratic primary voters wanted Biden and not Sanders to take on President Donald Trump in November.
“Although I may not agree with the vice president on every issue, I know that he has a good heart and he’s motivated by his love for our country and the American people,” Gabbard said. “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 ended her campaign after a series of poor showings in primaries and caucuses across the country. After Tuesday’s primaries, she was mathematically eliminated from the contest.
Gabbard’s endorsement of Biden might come as a surprise, especially given her close ties to Sanders.
In 2016, Gabbard resigned as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sanders over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a move that endeared her with progressives but made her an enemy within the party establishment.
Gabbard’s endorsement should also end any speculation that she planned to mount a third-party campaign, a rumor she has repeatedly denied.
The congresswoman’s political future is now an open question. Gabbard said she does not plan to run for reelection in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. She reiterated that fact again on Wednesday in an interview with Hawaii News Now, when she was questioned by anchor Keahi Tucker whether she was reconsidering.
“Is there a chance that you are going to get back in the race for Congress?” Tucker asked.
“No, I am not,” she said.
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