Tulsi Gabbard Takes Break From Campaign For Army Duty

Democratic presidential candidate Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced that she is taking a two-week break from campaign to go on active duty in Indonesia. In an interview broadcast on Monday, the 38-year old military combat veteran said, "I'm stepping off of the campaign trail for a couple of weeks and putting on my army uniform to go on a joint training exercise mission in Indonesia." Gabbard, the four-term congresswoman from Hawaii, is a member of the Hawaiian Army National Guard. "I love our country. I love being able to serve our country in so many ways including as a soldier," Gabbard said in an interview with CBSN. "So while some people are telling me, like, 'Gosh this is a terrible time to leave the campaign, can't you find a way out of it?' You know that's not what this is about," she told the news network's host Caitlin Huey-Burns. Gabbard, who has been trailing in opinion polls, said she is not really thinking about how this break will impact her campaign, saying, "I'm looking forward to being able to fulfill my service and my responsibility." Gabbard has been polling at around 1 percent in the contest to become the Democratic nominee for 2020 but saw a massive uptick in donors and popularity after her aggressive debate performance targeting Senator Kamala Harris on July 31. She launched a scathing attack of the California Senator over her record on criminal justice as the Attorney General of the state. After the debate ended, Gabbard emerged as Google's most searched Democratic candidate in a presidential primary debate, which was until then dominated by Joe Biden. She also surpassed the 130,000 unique donors mark, a parameter to qualify for the September and October debates. Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to the U.S. Congress and run for the presidency, is one of the youngest among more than 20 Democratic candidates in the field. During a television talk show over the weekend, Gabbard presented her foreign policy vision. "We must stop trying to be the world's police. As your commander-in-chief, I'll end the wasteful regime change wars, work to end the new cold war, bring our troops home, and redirect our precious tax dollars into serving the urgent needs of our people here at home," she told WMUR-9. On Monday, Gabbard released a video that tells the full story of what made her decide to run for President. "I love this country and would do anything to protect the American people," the lawmaker who decided to enlist after 9/11 said on Twitter.