As many of her House Democratic colleagues decided to back the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Tuesday said she doesn’t support the move because it would be “terribly divisive” for an “already very divided” United States.
“Look, my position remains the same. I think impeachment would be terribly divisive for our already very divided country,” Gabbard said in an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin. “I think Congress needs to exercise oversight over the information that’s been leaked. I think it’s important this transcript is released to Congress so that Congress can do its job.”
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, in the past, has cautioned against impeaching Trump. Her comments on Tuesday came shortly before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into the President. “The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the President’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said in doing so.
Trump faces outrage over reports that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July phone call to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. Trump on Sunday said that he did indeed discuss Biden with Zelensky – at a time when the country was awaiting the aid package from the United States – but he denied doing anything improper. The call is also the subject of a whistleblower complaint.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
House Democrats’ calls for impeachment have grown louder amid the growing controversy, and seven freshman Democrats wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post calling for an impeachment inquiry.
When asked why she thought those lawmakers were wrong, Gabbard said she thinks it’s important that the transcript of the conversations are released and Congress makes a “decision based on the facts.”
“It’s important Donald Trump is voted out of office by the American people,” she told Baldwin.
Gabbard, who qualified for the October Democratic debate hosted by CNN and The New York Times, is the first and only 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to clearly say she does not support moving to impeach Trump.
Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kamala Harris of California have all said they support impeachment. And bestselling author and activist Marianne Williamson said in a statement Tuesday that though she has been “cautious on the topic of impeachment,” she now believes an impeachment inquiry into Trump is the “right thing to do.”
Pelosi’s historic Tuesday announcement marks the most direct step taken by the House Democratic leader to embrace impeachment proceedings and is a significant escalation in the fight between House Democrats and the President.
CNN’s Dana Bash, Manu Raju, Sunlen Serfaty and Clare Foran contributed to this story.