Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
President Donald Trump praised Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard for not voting to impeach him. But she doesn’t really deserve praise because she didn’t take a principled stand against the sham impeachment.
Gabbard — a Congresswoman from Hawaii — voted “present” on the floor of the House of Representatives during the Dec. 18 impeachment vote.
Trump made the remarks Dec. 21 while speaking at the 2019 Turning Point USA Student Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“Did you the see the other day? Crooked Hillary came out and said that Jill Stein from the Green Party was a Russian agent,” Trump said. “Now, I don’t know Jill Stein. I’m sure she’s a fine woman. But I know she’s not a Russian agent.”
The President continued: “Then she said Tulsi Gabbard is a weapon of Russia. They lost all credibility because you know that Tulsi Gabbard — I give her respect. She didn’t vote the other day. I give her a lot of respect, because she knew [impeachment] was wrong. I know one thing: She is not an agent of Russia.”
(Source: White House)
President Trump was referencing an October 2019 interview, where Hillary Clinton smeared Gabbard as a “Russian asset.”
Gabbard reacted by saying that Hillary defamed her as revenge because she had endorsed Bernie Sanders in 2016.
Gabbard warned that if Hillary and her media minions can cavalierly defame a congresswoman like her, the damage they could do to private citizens like you and me is incalculable.
In fact, Gabbard said that was precisely the warning they were sending with their “Russian asset” smear: “Shut up, toe the line, or be destroyed.”
President Trump said he respects Tulsi Gabbard for voting “present” after she slammed the Democrats’ impeachment coup as “a purely partisan exercise.”
In a Twitter statement explaining why she voted “present,” Gabbard said: “After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no.”
“I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing. 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.
When I cast my vote in support of the impeachment inquiry nearly three months ago, I said that in order to maintain the integrity of this solemn undertaking, it must not be a partisan endeavor. Tragically, that’s what it has been.
The Founders of our country made clear their concerns about impeachment being a purely partisan exercise. A house divided cannot stand. And today we are divided. Fragmentation and polarity are ripping our country apart.”
While President Trump gave props to Gabbard for not voting FOR impeachment, her lame “present” vote is not commendable. Why? Because she refused to take any kind of stand with that non-vote.
Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey both voted “no” on impeachment. Van Drew followed up by switching parties and becoming a Republican.
Gabbard already announced that she won’t seek re-election after her current term ends, so there’s no political fallout if she had voted “No.” As it is, she’s deeply unpopular within her own party because she opposes the unending U.S. wars in the Middle East.
Once Tulsi realized that Democrats had not made their case for impeachment, she should have voted no — not present. It’s not courageous to not take a stand; it’s a cop-out.
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