Tulsi Gabbard

Congresswoman from Hawaii
Jump to  stances on the issues
Tulsi Gabbard dropped out of the presidential race on March 19, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Gabbard brings her experience as an Iraq War veteran to the presidential campaign and has staked out a distinctly anti-interventionist foreign policy. She was elected to Congress in 2012.
Hawaii Pacific University, B.S., 2009
April 12, 1981
Abraham Williams; divorced from Eduardo Tamayo
Major, Hawaii National Guard, 2003-present;
Honolulu City Council, 2010-2012;
Legislative aide to Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, 2006-2009;
Hawaii State House, 2002-2004


Tulsi Gabbard Fast Facts
Updated 1:44 PM ET, Tue Mar 29, 2022
Here's a look at the life of former US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Gabbard represented Hawaii's 2nd District. Personal Birth date: April 12, 1981 Birth place: Leloaloa, American Samoa Birth name: Tulsi Gabbard Father: Mike Gabbard, Hawaii state senator Mother: Carol (Porter) Gabbard, former Hawaii Board of Education member Marriages: Abraham Williams (2015-present); Eduardo Tamayo (2002-2006, divorced) Education: Hawaii Pacific University, B.S.B.A., 2009 Military service: Hawaii Army National Guard, 2003-present, Major Religion: Hinduism Other Facts As a teenager, co-founded Healthy Hawai'i Coalition, an environmental non-profit. She is the first American Samoan congresswoman and first practicing Hindu member of the US Congress. She is an avid surfer. Timeline 2002 - At age 21, is elected to the Hawaii State House to represent West Oahu, making her the youngest woman ever elected to the state legislature. 2003 - Enlists in the Hawaii Army National Guard. She completes her basic training between legislative sessions. 2004-2005 - Gabbard's unit is activated, and she voluntarily deploys, serving with a field medical unit in Iraq. 2006-2009 - Legislative aide to Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii. 2007 - Graduates from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy. This makes Gabbard the first woman in the Academy's 50-year history to earn the title of the distinguished honor graduate. 2008-2009 - Gabbard deploys to Kuwait, training counterterrorism units. November 2, 2010 - Is elected to the Honolulu City Council. 2011 - Founds the film production company, Kanu Productions. November 6, 2012 - Defeats David "Kawika" Crowley in the 2nd Congressional District of Hawaii for the US House of Representatives. January 22, 2013 - Elected vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. August 28, 2013 - Aniruddha Sherbow is apprehended in Tijuana, Mexico, after making threats against Gabbard that the FBI and US Capitol Police "deemed credible." Sherbow is later sentenced to 33 months in prison. October 12, 2015 - On CNN's "The Situation Room," Gabbard says she was disinvited from a Democratic presidential debate after voicing a call for more of them. October 12, 2015 - Is promoted by the Hawaii Army National Guard from captain to major at a ceremony in Hawaii. November 20, 2015 - Calls for the United States to let Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remain in power. February 28, 2016 - On NBC's "Meet the Press," Gabbard announces her decision to step down as DNC vice chair to endorse Bernie Sanders' presidential bid. November 21, 2016 - Meets with President-elect Donald Trump. "President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face," Gabbard says in a statement. January 25, 2017 - Gabbard tells CNN's Jake Tapper that she met with Assad during an unannounced, four-day trip to Syria. "When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so because I felt that it's important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we've got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we can achieve peace," Gabbard says. January 31, 2017 - Facing criticism, Gabbard issues a statement saying that she will personally pay for her trip to Syria. April 7, 2017 - Gabbard claims she's "skeptical" that Assad's regime was behind a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens in Syria though the President, secretary of state and Pentagon officials found that Assad's regime was responsible for the attack. November 21, 2018 - Gabbard refers to Trump as "Saudi Arabia's bitch" in a tweet after he issues a statement backing Saudi Arabia in the wake of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. January 11, 2019 - Gabbard tells CNN's Van Jones she will run for president in 2020, during an interview slated to air on January 12. "There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I'm concerned about and that I want to help solve," she says. January 17, 2019 - Gabbard issues an apology for her past comments and actions against the LGBTQ community following CNN's earlier report that she had supported her father's anti-gay organization, The Alliance for Traditional Marriage. Gabbard had previously apologized in 2012 while running for Congress. January 20, 2019 - Gabbard says that she does not regret meeting with Assad in 2017, adding that American leaders must meet with foreign leaders "if we are serious about the pursuit of peace and securing our country." February 2, 2019 - Gabbard officially launches her 2020 presidential campaign at an event in Hawaii. October 17, 2019 - In a podcast interview, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton suggests that the Russians are "grooming" a current Democratic presidential candidate to run as a third-party and champion their interests. The comment appears to be directed at Gabbard, who has previously been accused of being boosted by Russia. In her response, Gabbard calls Clinton "the queen of warmongers," and concluded, "It's now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don't cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly." October 24, 2019 - Gabbard releases a campaign video announcing that she won't run for reelection to Congress in 2020. December 18, 2019 - Votes "present" on both articles of impeachment against Trump. January 22, 2020 - Gabbard files a defamation lawsuit against Clinton, alleging the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee "lied" about Gabbard's ties to Russia. March 19, 2020 - Ends her 2020 presidential campaign and endorses former Vice President Joe Biden. May 27, 2020 - Drops the defamation lawsuit she filed against Clinton.


climate crisis
Close Accordion Pane
Gabbard introduced legislation in 2017 that would end fossil fuel subsidies and transition the US to 100% clean energy by 2035. That bill would prohibit “exports of domestically produced crude oil and natural gas, including liquefied natural gas,” and would establish an “equitable transition fund” to provide retraining and other services in order to mitigate job losses in fossil fuel industries. She is not a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Gabbard denounced Trump’s 2017 decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets. More on Gabbard’s climate crisis policy
Open Accordion Pane
Gabbard has called for overhauling the tax system, which she says unfairly benefits the rich. She has called Trump’s 2017 tax cuts a “failure,” saying they did not provide relief to working Americans or small businesses. She co-sponsored recently passed House legislation raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Gabbard opposed the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiated under Obama, which Trump withdrew from early in his term. She has also opposed the President’s trade war against China, which she argues has “damaged, not helped” our economy. More on Gabbard’s economic policy
Open Accordion Pane
Gabbard is a co-sponsor of the House version of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ College for All Act, which would make all two- and four-year public colleges free. Gabbard has said on Twitter that she supports paying for the measure by “taxing Wall Street.” More on Gabbard’s education policy
gun violence
Open Accordion Pane
Gabbard has backed or co-sponsored legislation to ban so-called assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks. She also supports legislation to impose universal background checks on gun buyers. More on Gabbard’s gun violence policy
Open Accordion Pane
Gabbard is among the co-sponsors of the House version of “Medicare for All” legislation, which would create a national public health insurance plan, but she has said she does not want to eliminate private insurance. She is also a co-sponsor of legislation allowing drug imports, as well as empowering Medicare to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers. Gabbard told The Washington Post that she supports allowing the federal government to produce and sell generic drugs. More on Gabbard’s health care policy
Open Accordion Pane
Gabbard, who has made foreign policy a core issue of her candidacy, has blamed US intervention in Latin America for creating the instability that triggered the surge in migration across the southern US border. She’s a co-sponsor of several bills aimed at keeping migrant families together at the border. She also supports creating a path for undocumented immigrants to gain legal status, including some who were brought to the US as children. More on Gabbard’s immigration policy


On a Texas road called 'the mouth of the wolf,' a semitruck packed with migrants was abandoned in the sweltering heat
Updated 6:11 AM ET, Wed Jun 29, 2022
A distant cry led a worker to a tractor-trailer abandoned on a desolate country road Monday evening under the blazing Texas sun on the outskirts of San Antonio. On this barren stretch of scrubland adjacent to railroad tracks, the perilous journey north for dozens of undocumented migrants -- many of them Mexican -- ended in the back of a scorching tractor-trailer, nearly 150 miles north of the US border with Mexico. By Tuesday, 51 people had died in what one Homeland Security Investigations' agent called the deadliest human smuggling incident in US history. "This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy," said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. A local businessman described the back road where the semitruck was abandoned as "la boca del lobo" in Spanish, or "the mouth of the wolf," because it is remote and pitch black. The road runs parallel to Interstate 35, a major north-south route in the central United States for traffic and commerce from the southern border. The interstate stretches from Laredo, Texas, to Duluth, Minnesota, near the Canadian border. From San Antonio, it meanders north to Austin, Waco, Forth Worth and Dallas. It's a route often exploited by smugglers at a time when record numbers of migrants are being intercepted at the US-Mexico border. "This sheds light on how dangerous human smuggling is," said Craig Larrabee, Homeland Security Investigations San Antonio acting special agent in charge. "In the past, smuggling organizations were mom-and-pop," Larrabee told CNN. "Now, they are organized and tied in with the cartels. So you have a criminal organization who has no regard for the safety of the migrants. They are treated like commodities rather than people." A cry for help leads to 'stacks of bodies' Just before 6 p.m. on Monday, a worker in a nearby building heard a cry for help and alerted local authorities to the abandoned truck, according to San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus. The doors to the hulking trailer were partially open when the worker arrived. Inside, he saw the bodies, the chief said. In all, 48 people were dead at the scene and two died later at hospitals, said a federal law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. They were migrants from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. One body was found outside the trailer. Inside the truck there were at least 22 Mexicans and two Hondurans, the federal law enforcement official said. Seven Guatemalans were among the dead, and another Guatemalan was in critical condition at a hospital, according to that nation's foreign minister. "We're not supposed to open up a truck and see stacks of bodies in there," San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said told reporters on Monday. "None of us come to work imagining that." Survivors, suffering from heat stroke, were hot to the touch These dangerous and sometimes fatal human smuggling operations, transporting people in crammed trailers and vans with no air conditioning, are common along the southern border. In 2017, 10 migrants died and dozens were injured from heat-related conditions in a tractor-trailer discovered at a San Antonio Walmart about three miles northeast of the latest incident. The driver of the truck was sentenced to life without parole in a federal prison. On Tuesday, San Antonio resident Angelita Olvera left two colorful crosses in honor of the victims near the site of the latest tragedy. "I didn't know them," she told CNN of the victims. "They are sons, mothers, fathers and grandchildren." Temperatures in San Antonio on Monday ranged from the high 90s to the low 100s. Sixteen survivors -- 12 adults and four children -- were rushed to local hospitals. Suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion, the patients were hot to the touch, according to Hood. The trailer had no air conditioning. There was no sign of water inside. It was unclear how long the victims had been dead. "They were still in there, awaiting help, when we arrived ... meaning just being too weak -- weakened state -- to actually get out and help themselves," Hood said of the survivors. Felipe Betancourt Jr., co-owner of trucking company in Alamo, Texas, told CNN the semitruck abandoned on Monday used the same federal and state identifying numbers as one of his vehicles. The truck in San Antonio is the same color as his red Volvo semi, but is not owned by his firm. Refrigerated semitrucks are insulated and meant to keep the temperatures stable, Betancourt said, but "if it's carrying something hot inside, it won't let the heat escape. The temperatures can reach up to 125-130 degrees when the doors are shut." On Monday, the truck went through a checkpoint north of Laredo, Texas, according to US Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat whose sprawling district includes Laredo and San Antonio. Homeland security officials are investigating the deaths, along with local police. Three people were taken into police custody away from the trailer, Chief McManus said. They are believed to be part of the smuggling conspiracy, according to ICE. Two men, Juan Claudio D'Luna-Mendez and Juan Francisco D'Luna-Bilbao, were charged federally with "possession of a weapon by an alien illegally in the United States" in connection with the incident, according to criminal complaints filed Monday in US District Court for the Western District of Texas. It is unclear if the two men charged are among the three people detained earlier. Investigators at the scene traced the Texas registration plate on the semitruck and to a residence in San Antonio, the affidavit said. The suspects were arrested during traffic stops after leaving the residence, according to the complaints, and numerous weapons were recovered in a car and truck driven by the suspects. 'Brothers and sisters who died following their hope of a better life' The victims were 39 men and 12 women. So far, the medical examiner's office has identified potentially 34 people, Precinct 1 Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores said. Medical examiners in neighboring counties have been asked to assist due to the number of victims. Consular officials from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras also vowed to help identify victims and assist survivors. "Far too many lives have been lost as individuals -- including families, women, and children -- take this dangerous journey," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on social media. The Biden administration earlier this month launched what Mayorkas called an "unprecedented" operation to disrupt human smuggling networks amid soaring numbers of migrants at the southern border. President Joe Biden described Monday's discovery as "horrifying and heartbreaking." "Exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is political grandstanding around tragedy, and my administration will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry," Biden said. Pope Francis, via Twitter, urged prayers "for these brothers and sisters who died following their hope of a better life." 650 died trying to cross US-Mexico border last year Migrant rescues are increasing across the nation's southern border. Since October, more than 14,000 searches and rescues have occurred along the border with Mexico, according to US Customs and Border Protection -- including those from dangerous water crossings. That's up from 12,833 searches and rescues in fiscal year 2021, with more than three months left in this fiscal year. At least 650 people died while trying to cross the US-Mexico border last year, the highest number since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration, a United Nations agency. Monday's tragedy brings the total number of deaths for the first six months of the year to 290. On Tuesday, helicopters buzzed over the desolate stretch of road where the trailer was abandoned as authorities searched for other migrants who might have been on the truck. Olvera, the resident who left crosses near the scene, recalled joining neighbors in 2017 to pray for the 10 migrants who died in a broiling tractor-trailer parked at a Walmart. She used to live in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Olvera said, fighting back tears, and is too familiar with the poverty some migrants have died fleeing. It's a tragedy that has repeated itself throughout the years. In 2003, 18 migrants, ranging in age from 7 to 91, were found dead in the back of a semitruck in Texas with about 100 other people as temperatures soared past 100 degrees, investigators said. The driver in that case was initially sentenced to life in prison, but in 2011 was resentenced to nearly 34 years in prison.