(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) on Thursday defended her decision to vote “present” during the House’s impeachment vote, saying she does not believe “in good consciences” she could vote “either yes or no.”
“First of all, throughout my life – whether it was through serving in the military and in the different decisions I’ve made in Congress, I always think about what’s in the best interest of the country. People will agree sometimes with those decisions, may disagree with those decisions, but my motivation is always coming from a deep love of country,” she said in an interview with The Hill TV’s “Rising.”
“And that’s where after doing my due diligence and going through the exhaustive report that was put out at the conclusion of the inquiry, I came to that conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no,” Gabbard said.
“A no vote was unacceptable to me, because Donald Trump is absolutely guilty of wrongdoing. A yes vote was unacceptable to me, because impeachment should never come about as a culmination of a highly partisan process. This is something that our founders warned us about,” she said.
Gabbard said she believes that the decision of whether or not to remove President Donald Trump should be left up to the voters.
“Alexander Hamilton, he wrote very clearly about how his concern that impeachment – the impeachment outcome would determine the strength of one party or another rather than by an examination of innocence or guilt, and that’s why I believe so strongly that making this statement, voting present, taking a stand for the center, standing for our democracy and really that this decision of whether to remove Donald Trump or not must be in the hands of voters,” she said.
“I believe that they will make that decision,” the congresswoman added.
Gabbard said she was “surprised” to hear that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was delaying sending the articles of impeachment to the House and appointing impeachment managers until she was assured that there would be a “fair” trial in the Senate.
“I was surprised to hear that. You can’t kind of just shift and change and make up the rules as you go along. If you’re gonna pursue this process, you’ve got to let it play out the whole way through,” Gabbard said.
“Again, I think that the hyper partisan nature that we’ve seen throughout this whole thing and again, this is not just on the part of the Democrats. You see on those who are defending Donald Trump, you see a blind loyalty to their party’s leader, people who are proclaiming that yes, of course, Trump what he did was ‘perfect,’ nothing wrong. They’re not exercising their responsibility to the American people in providing legitimate oversight,” she said.
The congresswoman said Democrats have also not been impartial.
“On the Democratic side, you see such extreme language being used, basically accusing the president of treason without actually saying the word, and tainting therefore any possibility of a truly impartial fact-finding inquiry,” she said.
“This is where I think the American people, the vast majority of the American people are seeing right through this and are deeply frustrated that so much time and energy’s being consumed on this when the challenges, the issues, the concerns, the hopes and dreams that they have in their everyday lives are going unheard,” Gabbard said.
“I think it’s very telling that since this process began, even when talk of an impeachment inquiry first started, at every one of my town halls going and stopping at small businesses, talking with families, house parties, I think I’ve gotten a total of two questions about impeachment for months … so that in and of itself I think speaks volumes about what the American people are most concerned about, and I’ll tell you the thing I hear over and over and over is we’ve got to come together as a country and have leaders in our government who are actually working for the people – not one party or another, but actually working for the people.