President Trump spoke at a Turning Point USA conference in Florida on Saturday where he praised Democratic presidential candidate and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for voting “present” on impeachment.
“They knew a few days into the Russian witch hunt that it was nothing. It didn’t exist,” Trump said Saturday. “Did you the see the other day? Crooked Hillary came out … she said that Jill Stein from the Green Party, she said Jill Stein was a Russian agent. Now, I don’t know Jill Stein, I’m sure she’s a fine woman, but I know she’s not a Russian agent.”
“Then she said Tulsi Gabbard is a weapon of Russia,” Trump continued. “And they lost all credibility because we know that Tulsi Gabbard – and I give her respect – she didn’t vote the other day. I give her a lot of respect.”
“Because she knew it was wrong, she took a pass,” the President added. “But I don’t know [her], but I know one thing – she is not an agent of Russia.”
The House voted to impeach Trump on Wednesday, with the vote for the two articles predictably falling along party lines. Gabbard voted “present” for both and was the only Democrat to do so.
She explained her “present” vote in a statement.
“Throughout my life, whether through serving in the military or in Congress, I’ve always worked to do what is in the best interests of our country,” Gabbard said. “Not what’s best for me politically or what’s best for my political party. I have always put our country first.”
“One may not always agree with my decision, but everyone should know that I will always do what I believe to be right for the country that I love,” she continued. “After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no.”
“I am standing in the center and have decided to vote Present,” Gabbard declared. “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,” she added. “When I cast my vote in support of the impeachment inquiry nearly three months ago, I said that in order to maintain the integrity of this solemn undertaking, it must not be a partisan endeavor. Tragically, that’s what it has been.”
“On the one side – The president’s defenders insist that he has done nothing wrong,” Gabbard went on. “They agree with the absurd proclamation that his conduct was ‘perfect.’ They have abdicated their responsibility to exercise legitimate oversight, and instead blindly do the bidding of their party’s leader.”
“On the other side – The president’s opponents insist that if we do not impeach, our country will collapse into dictatorship,” she said. “All but explicitly, they accuse him of treason. Such extreme rhetoric was never conducive to an impartial fact-finding process.”
In addition to her statement, Gabbard also posted a video explanation on Twitter.
This is not the first time Trump has defended Gabbard.
The President told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in October, “Hillary Clinton said … Jill Stein is a Russian asset. Now I don’t know Jill Stein. I know her as an environmentalist, okay, and probably a good woman. The last thing she is is a Russian asset.
Trump added, “I don’t know Tulsi Gabbard but I know one thing – she is not an asset of Russia. These people are sick.”
“There’s something wrong with them,” Trump said.
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