Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was pushing for an alternative to impeachment on the eve of a full member vote in the House of Representatives.
The Hawaii Democrat remains undecided about the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, and introduced a resolution Tuesday calling for his censure instead, just ahead of a full House vote set for Wednesday, ABC News reported.
The resolution, which suggests “the president put personal political gain over national interest” and presents an alternative to impeachment, came as the House Rules Committee met to set the terms for floor debate. Gabbard told voters Monday that she feels her colleagues should vote based on what is best for the nation and not consider personal politics.
“I’m taking this time for myself to be able to review everything that’s happened, all the information that’s been put forward,” the 2020 presidential candidate said at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. “And just all the factors that go into really trying to figure out what is the best action to take for our country. And for democracy. It’s not a simple or easy decision to make.”
The former vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee did not meet the threshold to qualify for Wednesday’s next Democratic debate in Los Angeles and is one of a few House Democrats to still say publicly she is undecided on a vote for impeaching the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“I think it’s really important that every member of congress cast their vote based on what’s in the best interest of the country rather than based on political implications,” she told the South Carolina crowd.
“Throughout my political life, I have always done my best to make decisions and cast votes based on what I believe is the right thing to do,” Gabbard told reporters earlier this week. “Even when that decision causes political damage to my quote-unquote, you know, career reelection chances, that is not a factor for me in my decision-making process whatsoever.”
During the Democratic debate in October, the Hawaii congresswoman stood apart from the majority of her fellow primary candidates on the question of impeachment.
“Trump won his election, and as unhappy as that may make us as Democrats, he won that election in 2016,” she said, adding that impeachment “will only further divide an already terribly divided country.”
While Gabbard’s resolution is not expected to pass, with only two Democrats so far have publicly said they would vote against the articles of impeachment, a censure alternative could be supported by one small group of Democrats, including New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, New York Rep. Anthony Brindisi, and Utah Rep. Ben McAdams.
Vulnerable Democrats representing districts that Trump won in 2016 have been under heavy criticism over the issue.
Reps. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota are Democrats who have openly said they will vote against impeachment while many of their more vulnerable colleagues, with eyes on 2020, are straddling the fence like Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin.
Freshman ‘swing-state’ lawmaker who pushed impeachment suddenly getting cold feet https://t.co/e8aT1lMslO
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 12, 2019
Many Democrats are hearing from angry voters in their districts who are not on board with impeaching the president and want their elected representatives to get back to work. Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia faced her angry constituents at a heated town hall meeting where those attending shouted, “Let our votes count!”
“We’re mad, mad as hell,” one man told Oklahoma Rep. Kendra Horn at her recent town hall.
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