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Tulsi Gabbard ( TUL-see GAB-ərd; born April 12, 1981) is an American politician, United States Army Reserve officer, and political commentator who was the U.S. representative for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district from 2013 to 2021. Gabbard was the first Samoan-American to become a voting member of Congress. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 United States presidential election, before announcing in October 2022 that she had left the Democratic Party to become an independent. In 2002, Gabbard was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives at the age of 21. Gabbard served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard while deployed to Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and was stationed in Kuwait from 2008 to 2009 as an Army Military Police platoon leader. While a member of Congress, she served as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2013 to 2016, and resigned to endorse Bernie Sanders' campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. During her time in Congress, she frequently appeared on Fox News and criticized the Barack Obama administration for refusing to say that the real enemy of the United States is radical Islam or Islamic extremism. During her presidential campaign, she highlighted an opposition to military interventionism, although she has called herself a "hawk" on combatting terrorism. Her decision to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and her skepticism of claims that he had used chemical weapons gave rise to public disagreement from mainstream Democrats. In March 2020, Gabbard ended her presidential candidacy, and endorsed Joe Biden. Since leaving the House of Representatives on January 3, 2021, Gabbard has taken more conservative positions on issues such as abortion, foreign policy, transgender rights, and border security. She has continued her frequent presence on Fox News, including serving as a fill-in host for Tucker Carlson Tonight. In October 2022, Gabbard announced that she had left the Democratic Party altogether, citing their positions on foreign policy and social issues as reasons for her departure. Gabbard campaigned for several Republican candidates in the 2022 midterm elections. She was also a featured speaker at the 2022 and 2024 Conservative Political Action Conferences (CPAC).
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