So, it finally happened — Donald Trump is officially impeached, three long months after Nancy Pelosi first announced an official impeachment inquiry. To refresh your memory, here’s a quick recap of what happened in that time: Trump trolled a 16-year-old environmental activist, we’ve endured three Democratic debates, Harry Styles rose to hottest man alive status, and finally, Tulsi Gabbard revealed herself as the Democratic party’s very own super-villain.
It occurred sometime in the last three months, after Hillary Clinton boldly stated that Gabbard was “the favorite of the Russians,” which the Representative from Hawaii did not receive, um, gracefully. Shortly after, in the November debate, Gabbard took some deep digs on her fellow presidential candidates. She even managed to throw in another jab at Clinton, calling her “the personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.”
And then there was the impeachment vote — the long-awaited moment where party lines were explicitly drawn as the Dems prepared to vote in favor of impeachment on two articles, with Republicans voting against. Tusli Gabbard, however, decided to take matters into her own hands. When called for her vote, she responded: “Present.”
By voting “present” for Trump’s impeachment, Gabbard actively abstained from the voting process. “I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no,” Gabbard said in a statement following the final vote.
The presidential hopeful has openly discussed her mixed feelings on the impeachment inquiry throughout numerous debates, and when it came down to the final decision, her ambivalence for the process outweighed making a final decision. And this definitely didn’t fly with her fellow members of Congress.
“Voting ‘present’ is a very tough position to be in,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told Buzzfeed News. “To not take a stand in a moment that is so consequential, I think it’s quite difficult.”
According to AOC and a number of other constituents, most would have rather seen Gabbard vote “yes” or “no” rather than abstain. “I mean, what is the point? I don’t know what this woman thinks she’s accomplishing by that — I guess getting attention, former Sen. Claire McCaskil told Salon. “We’re talking about her, and really we shouldn’t spend any time talking about her.”
But Gabbard, who is accustomed to disappointing the Democratic party, didn’t see it that way. Instead, she said her abstention from the vote stood as a larger protest. “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,” she said.
Naturally, The View host and self-proclaimed “Mother Of Dragons” Meghan McCain weighed in to praise Gabbard’s choice — or lack thereof. She said that Gabbard had “balls of steel” for her “present” vote.
Whether or not Gabbard’s present served a higher purpose in her mind (or anyone’s), her choice to abstain from Trump’s impeachment certainly got her noticed – a skill she’s honed well. And it might be a necessary one, considering she won’t be there to troll her fellow candidates at Thursday night’s sixth Democratic debate.
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