Late Wednesday evening, Democrat presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard became one of only three House Democrats to not vote “yes” on impeaching President Donald Trump.
But instead of voting against the impeachment like Reps. Collin Peterson and soon-to-be-Republican Jeff Van Drew, Gabbard voted “present.”
In a video statement posted to Twitter after the vote, she explained why.
“Throughout my life, whether through serving in the military or in Congress, I’ve always worked to do what is in the best interests of our country, not what’s best for me politically or what’s best for my political party,” she said.
“I have always put our country first. 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.”
And after reviewing the Democrats’ “woefully inadequate” case against Trump, as famed legal scholar Jonathan Turley put it earlier this month, she concluded that voting either “yes” or “no” on impeachment would be a disservice to her constituents.
“I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing,” she said.
“I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”
The impeachment vote itself was highly partisan, with zero Republicans joining Democrats to vote against the president — but two Democrats, Peterson and Van Drew, joining Republicans to vote with them.
In fact, one Republican didn’t just vote “No” — he voted “Hell No!”
If there was ever a time to vote hell no, this was it. pic.twitter.com/pzRPJSEZvq
— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) December 19, 2019
Granted, Gabbard disagrees with the president’s assertion that his controversial call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “perfect” and doesn’t support Republicans’ “blind” willingness to accept this narrative.
But, she cautioned, the imperfection of Trump’s call didn’t warrant such “extreme” rhetoric and actions from her colleagues.
“The president’s opponents insist that if we do not impeach, our country will collapse into dictatorship,” she said. “All but explicitly, they accuse him of treason. Such extreme rhetoric was never conducive to an impartial fact-finding process.”
Indeed. It’s conducive only to rank partisanship — the very sort of rank partisanship, she added, that the Founding Fathers had warned about.
“In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton warned against any impeachment that would merely ‘connect itself with the pre-existing factions’ and ‘enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other,'” she explained.
“In such cases, he said, ‘there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.'”
And so given how her colleagues have subverted a constitutional process to advance their own clear-cut agenda, she felt it prudent that, one, she vote “present” on impeachment, and two, she attempts to counter impeachment with something more sensible.
“To this end, I have introduced a censure resolution that will 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 said.
That she did:
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 18, 2019
“A house divided cannot stand. And today we are divided,” her statement concluded. “Fragmentation and polarity are ripping our country apart. This breaks my heart, and breaks the hearts of all patriotic Americans, whether we are Democrats, Republicans, or Independents.”
“So today, I come before you to make a stand for the center, to appeal to all of you to bridge our differences and stand up for the American people.”
Alas, it appears her efforts failed.
In response to her “present vote,” numerous far-left activists and allegedly objective, non-biased media “analysts” and “correspondents” rushed to impugn her character, accuse her of being Russian President Vladimir Putin’s paid stooge and more.
Look (*Language warning):
So Tulsi Gabbard? (was the ‘present’ vote). Clearly is going to run as a spoiler third party candidate, paid by Putin. She’s a Republican anyway pretending to be a Democrat. The more messy 2020 will be, the more Trump has a chance at re-election. Putin playing this very smartly
— Tomi T Ahonen (@tomiahonen) December 19, 2019
….psst…..Tulsi Gabbard is a traitor
— Matthew Lewis Royer (@TheMatthewRoyer) December 19, 2019
So Tulsi Gabbard will play the role of Jill Stein in 2020, out there only to damage the Democrat, paid by Putin.
— Tomi T Ahonen (@tomiahonen) December 19, 2019
Not sure how @TulsiGabbard can defend a “present” vote on impeachment. One of the most consequential votes in any politician’s career and you can’t make a call one way or another? Why even be there, collecting a taxpayer-funded paycheck?
— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) December 19, 2019
.@TulsiGabbard voting “present” — the only member of 431 to do so — is about as pathetic as calling in sick.
— Philippe Reines (@PhilippeReines) December 19, 2019
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) December 19, 2019
Tonight history was made & Trump was impeached, which was just the pick-me-up I needed after surgery. Thanks to those reps who stuck up for the country & voted to impeach. (Not you, @TulsiGabbard; nothing says “patriot” like voting, “I dunno, who cares?”)
— Misha Collins—Get The Adventurous Eaters Club Now! (@mishacollins) December 19, 2019
Most of the criticisms of @TulsiGabbard this election cycle have been dishonest smears. But Gabbard’s “present” vote on impeachment is indefensible & her statement about it is terrible. https://t.co/qxQKEaThTx
— Ben Spielberg (@BenSpielberg) December 19, 2019
— Ellen Hopkins (@EllenHopkinsLit) December 19, 2019
Joining the critics was fellow House Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“Today was very consequential. And to not take a stand one way or another in a day of such grave consequence to this country is quite difficult. We’re sent here to lead,” she reportedly said.
Sure, and here is video footage of Democrats “leading” …:
The smirk on Pelosi’s face and that she had to wave her hand at the Democrat caucus when gaveling the “somber, solemn” impeachment vote tells you all you need to know about how much of a sham this #ImpeachmentHoax has been since day one.
— Soloman (@wisdomofsoloman) December 19, 2019
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) December 19, 2019
@HouseJudiciary Democrats are thespians.
So FAKE… wait for it. pic.twitter.com/cbEGTvdN33
— Fiona Giselle ❤️?? ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@FionaGiselle2) December 12, 2019
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