Former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who ran for president as a Democrat in 2020, announced Tuesday that she is leaving the party, accusing them of being an “elitist cabal of war mongers” — and urged others to do the same.
Gabbard made the announcement in a nearly 30-minute video posted to YouTube, the first episode of a digital series called “The Tulsi Gabbard Show.” The episode is titled “Why I'm leaving the Democratic Party.”
“I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party that’s under the complete control of of an elitist cabal of warmongers who driven by cowardly wokeness,” she said in the video, accusing Democrats of “racializing every issue,” “stoking anti-white racism,” demonizing the police and “dragging us ever closer to nuclear war.”
“I believe in a government that is of, by, and for the people,” she continued. “Unfortunately, today’s Democratic Party does not.”
“I’m calling on my fellow common sense, independent-minded Democrats to leave as well,” Gabbard added. "If you can no longer stomach the direction that so-called woke Democratic Party ideologues are taking our country, I invite you to join me.”
She did not announce she was joining the Republican Party or make any other announcements about her future.
Prior to her unsuccessful presidential bid, Gabbard represented Hawaii in the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2021, the first Hindu member of Congress, as well as Congress' first Samoan-American voting member. During her tenure in the House, she served as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee for three years. While in Congress, she was a critic of then-President Barack Obama’s stance on terrorism and held a controversial meeting in 2017 with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad amid accusations that he used chemical weapons on civilians.
In late 2020, before leaving Congress, she introduced a bill known as the Protect Women’s Sports Act, which would make it a “violation of federal law for a recipient of federal funds who operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs or activities to permit a person whose biological sex at birth is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.”
After leaving Congress, Gabbard became a frequent guest on Fox News, including guest-hosting on Tucker Carlson’s evening primetime program, and was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando earlier this year.
During one appearance in August, Gabbard referenced the Aug. 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate by federal authorities, saying that “whatever your views are on Donald Trump, there's no denying that the unprecedented raid on his Palm Beach home earlier this week has set our country on a dangerous new course, and there's no turning back.”
Earlier this year, Gabbard was slammed by GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, for spreading misinformation about U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine, claims which were roundly debunked as false.
"Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda," Romney wrote on Twitter in March. "Her treasonous lies may well cost lives."
"Actual Russian propaganda. Traitorous," Kinzinger wrote. "Russia also said the Luger center in Georgia was making zombies. Tulsi should go to Russia."
Gabbard, who endorsed Biden after dropping out of the 2020 race, on Tuesday accused the president and “Democratic Party elites have pushed us to the precipice of nuclear war, risking starting World War III and destroying the world as we know it.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised Gabbard’s announcement in an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, calling her “an independent maverick.”
GOP Rep. Mayra Flores, who flipped a solidly blue seat in south Texas in a special election in June, applauded Gabbard for her “courage.”
“We welcome you with open arms and I look forward to working with you for the betterment of this great country,” she wrote on Twitter.
Pennsylvania State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate earlier this year, wrote on Twitter: “Wait, Tulsi Gabbard was a Democrat?”