Tulsi Gabbard Changes Her Mind, Now Backs Trump Impeachment Inquiry

September 27, 2019 Updated: September 27, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), one of a dwindling number of Democrats who did not support the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, said on Friday, Sept. 27 that she changed her mind and now backs the inquiry.

“Up to this point, I have been opposed to pursuing impeachment because it will further divide our already badly divided country. However, after looking carefully at the transcript of the conversation with Ukraine’s President, the whistleblower complaint, the Inspector General memo, and President Trump’s comments about the issue, unfortunately, I believe that if we do not proceed with the inquiry, it will set a very dangerous precedent,” Gabbard, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, said in a statement.

“Future presidents, as well as anyone in positions of power in the government, will conclude that they can abuse their position for personal gain, without fear of accountability or consequences,” she added.

“If we allow the President to abuse his or her power, then our society will rot from top to bottom. We will turn into a banana republic, where people in positions of power—from the president all the way down to the traffic cop—will feel it’s okay to abuse their power with no consequences. This is not the kind of country that any of us want to see.”

Gabbard said the inquiry should be swift, thorough, and “narrowly-focused,” adding, “It cannot be turned into a long, protracted partisan circus that will further divide our country and undermine our democracy.”

zelensky speaks about phone call
President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hold a meeting in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which happened in July, was released by the White House on Wednesday. The complaint from an anonymous person was released the next day by the House Intelligence community, along with a memo from the inspector general of the intelligence community.

The person who filed the complaint did not get their information directly, instead relying on secondhand accounts, and the inspector general found the person had “some indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the Complainant in favor of a rival political candidate.”

The rival candidate was not named.

Gabbard said on Thursday that the transcript didn’t show a “compelling” reason to impeach Trump.

“I think what most people will see is, ‘Hey, this is another move by Democrats to get rid of Donald Trump,’ further deepening the already hyperpartisan divides that we have in this country,” she added.

Gabbard said that she believes Trump is “unfit to serve this country as president” and she is running for the presidency to defeat him.

“I just think it’s so important for our country to be able to move forward to bridge these divides, [such] that it be the American people that make this decision,” she said.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber