Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard cast the lone “present” vote on the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The House voted 230-197-1 to impeach Trump for abuse of power and 229-198-1 to impeach him for obstruction of Justice. Gabbard cast the only “present” vote on both.
“I am standing in the center and have decided to vote 'present,'” she said in a statement. “I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment, because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing. I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment, because 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.”
Gabbard wants censure instead of impeachment:
“Trump has violated public trust. Congress must be unequivocal in denouncing the president’s misconduct and stand up for the American people and our democracy," she said. "To this end, I have introduced a censure resolution that will send a strong message to this president.”
“I’ve always worked to do what is in the best interest of our country — not what’s best for me politically, not what’s best for my political party,” she added. “One may not always agree with my decisions, but everyone should know that I will always do what I believe to be right for the country that I love.”
Gabbard blasted by Democrats:
“That’s just stupid,” former Sen. Claire McCaskill told MSNBC after the vote. “I mean, what is the point? I don’t know what this woman thinks she’s accomplishing by that. I guess getting attention. We’re talking about her, and really we shouldn’t spend any time talking about her.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also took a shot at Gabbard.
“Today was very consequential, and to not take a stand one way or another on a day of such great consequence to this country, I think is quite difficult. We are sent here to lead,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., told BuzzFeed News. “Whenever we have a vote, we should vote ‘yes,’ and we should vote ‘no.’ Voting ‘present’ is a very tough position to be in. To not take a stand in a moment that is so consequential — I think it’s quite difficult.”