Is a Hawaii lawmaker in Washington, D.C., a possible contender for President-elect Donald Trump’s team?
A spokeswoman for Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard tells us it just isn’t so.
The politician and war veteran says she met with the president-elect Monday at Trump Tower in New York City to discuss U.S.-Syria policies and America’s fight against terrorist groups.
And according to Gabbard’s spokeswoman Erika Tsuji, a possible job in the Trump administration was not brought up. She clarified that the congresswoman “loves the job she has, serving the people of Hawaii in Congress.”
Still, the meeting between the two has made national headlines.
In a lengthy statement, Gabbard defended her decision to meet with Trump.
“While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives,” she said.
Gabbard says Trump asked to meet and discuss current policies about Syria, but added that she won’t hesitate to disagree with Trump.
“I believe we can disagree, even strongly, but still come together on issues that matter to the American people and affect their daily lives.”
The president-elect met with several people Monday, like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, this during a time where Trump is vetting potential candidates in his administration.
Many of them were seen leaving Trump Tower. Though Gabbard was never seen, Senior Trump Advisor Kellyanne Conway had this to say about the Hawaii democrat: “(There was) a lot of common ground. They both understood the country very well. Rep. Gabbard went against her party quite boldly early on and I think you’re hearing people like (fellow Democrat) Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio also raising concerns.”
Local political analyst and Hawaii Pacific University professor John Hart says Gabbard and Trump see eye-to-eye on many things.
“She has been associated with several foreign policy positions similar to the ones Trump had,” he said. “She is against nation building. She would be against expansion of the military in the Middle East without massive justification. These are the things President-elect Trump is comfortable with.”
As for the possibility that Gabbard is being considered for a role in the Trump administration, Hart says “Tulsi has been on Fox News and a lot of Republicans view her favorably. She’s viewed as a very independent Democrat.”
According to a CNN source, Gabbard is being considered for jobs at the Defense Department, State Department and the United Nations.
Here is Rep. Gabbard’s full statement on her meeting with President-elect Trump:
President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face. I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government—a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families.
While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives.
Serving the people of Hawaiʻi and our nation is an honor and responsibility that I do not take lightly. Representing the aloha spirit and diversity of the people of Hawaiʻi, I will continue to seek common ground to deliver results that best serve all Americans, as I have tried to do during my time in Congress.
Where I disagree with President-elect Trump on issues, I will not hesitate to express that disagreement. However, I believe we can disagree, even strongly, but still come together on issues that matter to the American people and affect their daily lives. We cannot allow continued divisiveness to destroy our country.
President-elect Trump and I had a frank and positive conversation in which we discussed a variety of foreign policy issues in depth. I shared with him my grave concerns that escalating the war in Syria by implementing a so-called no fly/safe zone would be disastrous for the Syrian people, our country, and the world. It would lead to more death and suffering, exacerbate the refugee crisis, strengthen ISIS and al-Qaeda, and bring us into a direct conflict with Russia which could result in a nuclear war. We discussed my bill to end our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government, and the need to focus our precious resources on rebuilding our own country, and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups who pose a threat to the American people.
For years, the issue of ending interventionist, regime change warfare has been one of my top priorities. This was the major reason I ran for Congress—I saw firsthand the cost of war, and the lives lost due to the interventionist warmongering policies our country has pursued for far too long.
Let me be clear, I will never allow partisanship to undermine our national security when the lives of countless people lay in the balance.