WASHINGTON: Tulsi Gabbard, the first ever Hindu elected to the US Congress who has a sizeable following among Indian-Americans, today quit a senior Democratic party position to endorse Bernie Sanders as the US presidential candidate.
Ms Gabbard’s sudden endorsement comes ahead of the Super Tuesday in which front-runner Hillary Clinton is pitched in a tough battle against Mr Sanders in the 11 States where the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries are scheduled.
Appearing in a Sunday talk show on NBC News, the 34-year-old, said she is stepping down as the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and is endorsing Mr Sanders, who is attracting thousands of people across the country for his views of health care and education.
“There is a clear contrast between our two candidates with regard to my strong belief that we must end the interventionist, regime change policies that have cost us so much. This is not just another issue… it’s deeply personal to me,” Ms Gabbard said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’.
“As a veteran, as a soldier, I’ve seen firsthand the true cost of war… As we look at our choices as to who our next Commander-in-chief will be is to recognise the necessity to have a Commander-in-chief who has foresight. Who exercises good judgement,” she said.
“Who looks beyond the consequences — who looks at the consequences of the actions that they are willing to take before they take those actions. So that we don’t continue to find ourselves in these failures that have resulted in chaos in the Middle East and so much loss of life,” Ms Gabbard said.
Welcoming the endorsement, Mr Sanders said: “Congresswoman Gabbard is one of the important voices of a new generation of leaders.As a veteran of the Iraq War, she understands the cost of war and is fighting to create a foreign policy that not only protects America but keeps us out of perpetual wars.”
Ms Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran and member of the Hawaii Army National Guard, also released a video today explaining her decision to back Mr Sanders.
“We need a commander in chief, who understands the need for a foreign policy which is robust in defending the safety and security of the American people. Who will not waste precious lives and money on interventionist wars of regime change,” said Ms Gabbard, a veteran of two deployments to the Middle East.
“That’s why today I am endorsing Bernie Sanders to be the next president and commander-in-chief of the US,” she said. Elected in 2012, Ms Gabbard is the first Hindu member of the United States Congress.