Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

The ex-Democrat catching Trump’s and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s eyes

By 37ci3 Mar21,2024

Tulsi Gabbard wanted to be president. Now he wants to be vice president. And while that’s hardly unusual, the ways — plural — he’s thinking of getting there.

Don’t involve the Democratic Party, which Gabbard represents until he leaves the party in 2022. The four-term congressman from Hawaii is now considering the candidacy of both former President Donald Trump and independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy. Two sources familiar with the candidates’ discussions told NBC News.

It’s a remarkable turnaround for the once-progressive rising star, who over the course of eight years went from endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign to running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 and eventually endorsing and then wooing President Joe Biden. to the right and becoming a regular conservative media personality and conference speaker.

In addition, it is extremely rare for a politician to attract the interests of more than one presidential ticket or party. (In the run-up to the 1952 election, Democrats and Republicans led dueling efforts to groom another politically obscure veteran, Dwight Eisenhower, the former supreme Allied commander in Europe during World War II, for the presidential race.)

But Gabbard’s 2024 possibilities are not entirely within his control, and neither is equally likely. One source said Gabbard would have more seriously considered Kennedy’s running mate if he hadn’t been swayed by the prospect of working with Trump. The person said Gabbard was “excited” about the chance to serve on Kennedy’s ticket, but is now focused on the possibility that Trump will pick her.

“I understand that Tulsi is confident that Trump will pick her,” he said. “If he hadn’t, he probably would have gone with Kennedy.”

Trump’s allies and insiders say he’s a tough choice at best, though he may take a look from the former president, though he could still play another role in the campaign or a potential future administration. Some on the right brought him in as secretary of defense or some other national security position. He was one of the only Democrats He met with Trump During the transition period in 2016, as he interviewed people for positions in his administration.

“I think a lot of people on Trump’s team see him as someone who won’t end up as VP, but who might end up in a different role when it’s all said and done,” Trump’s world adviser said.

While Gabbard has positives that would attract Trump to a prospective ticket – including holding positions about both sides of fight for abortion rights and created then Sen vs viral debate moment. Kamala Harris — A person familiar with Trump’s private discussions said that the biggest blow against him is that he has previously run for president.

The person said that “very specific calculations are going on” in the process of the vice presidential election and noted that Trump does not want to be appointed to the position. one with his own presidential ambitions who could be seen as his successor.

“Everybody’s trying to get their PR right now,” this person said of Gabbard’s chances of being elected.

‘Quite a leap’

Trump and Kennedy have announced their interest in Gabbard, 42, over the past month. It comes as Gabbard raises her profile. He has a brand new book — subtitled: “Leave the Democratic Party Behind” — with Kennedy’s publisher, who is also the chairman of the main super PAC that supports him. And he created a new leadership PAC, is registered Using the GOP treasurer and the bank.

A person familiar with the matter told NBC News that Kennedy met with Gabbard while campaigning in Hawaii in mid-January, and that he was on the campaign’s public list of possible running mates.

Meanwhile, host Laura Ingraham dropped out during a Fox News town hall in South Carolina in late February. possible VP chooses That includes Gabbard. “These people are all good – they’re all solid” Trump said.

Mark Longabaugh, Sanders’ former chief strategist, worked with Gabbard when she was a leading surrogate in the 2016 presidential race. campaign — Sanders gave her the honor of formally nominating her at the Democratic National Convention — said Gabbard’s political evolution has been “quite a leap.”

Although he notes that both Gabbard and Trump have taken contrasting positions on many issues in their careers, he believes that Kennedy would be a better fit ideologically than Trump.

“Maybe he’s a perfect fit for Trump,” he said. “Trump has no convictions. So it would be a ‘conviction ticket’.

The former congressman has said in multiple interviews that he would be interested in serving as Trump’s vice president, including On Donald Trump Jr.’s podcast.

“I’d be open to that” he told the Fox News host When asked about Jesse Watters serving as Trump’s running mate this month.

Gabbard has fielded the question in recent interviews with conservative media figures, but in response to a request for comment from NBC News, a Gabbard spokesperson explained that questions about her interest in serving as a running mate for Trump or Kennedy were “based on speculation, hearsay. and assumptions”.

“Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard believes these questions are premature,” said Erika Tsuji, who is also Gabbard’s 2020 campaign communications director. “Would be happy to do a rain check if things go from hypothesis to reality.”

Trump’s campaign declined to comment. Kennedy’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Gabbard also kept a toe in Libertarian politics, speaking at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum over the weekend. Angela McArdle, the party’s national chairman, said that there had been no talk of her running for president or vice president through the party.

“We hope to have a good relationship with him,” McArdle said.

Gabbard’s evolution

Gabbard fit in well with the anti-war left wing of the Democratic Party and was a team player with its mainstream.”role model” was elected by the elders of the party and won the position of the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He resigned from that position in 2016 to support allegations that Sanders and the DNC committed primary fraud against him.

But since the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Gabbard has retreated. He now calls himself a political independent but, as conservative Boston radio host Jeff Kuhner confirmed in an interview with Gabbard last week, “sounds more like a Trump supporter.”

Now, Gabbard Performs at Mar-a-Lago and Conservative Political Action Conference and there is Guest for Tucker Carlson. He is a regular and host in conservative and anti-establishment media, from Fox News to Joe Rogan’s podcast. His own podcast with episode titles such as “Woke Up to ‘Gender Lies, Child Abuse and Mutilation'” and “The 2nd Amendment: Why Our Rights Will Not Be Infringed.”

Gabbard spoke with Trump and his senior advisers on foreign and military affairs. The Washington Post reported on this in February. He has been known for a long time He openly criticizes US foreign policy, military intervention abroad and aid to Ukraine. Years ago, he met with him, who opposed the US involvement in the civil war in Syria Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Trump even has publicly defended him against critics in his former party: “He is not a Russian agent” He said in 2019.

Again, Gabbard – criticized for connections Hindu nationalists and allegedly used Islamophobe rhetoric — supports Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip and opposes a ceasefire, says last month“You can’t have peace until Hamas is defeated.”

Gabbard was so recently removed from the Democratic Party that she was on Harris’ Christmas card mailing list last year, she said in a recent interview. But he says now his old party is “under the control of this elite cabinet of woke warmongers” and is “unrecognizable” from the party he used to know.

“We cannot allow Joe Biden to be re-elected. Period,” he told Kuhner. “Otherwise, if the Biden-Harris administration or any of the other Democrats are allowed to remain in power, I am sincerely and deeply concerned that we will not be able to get those freedoms back.”

He downplayed the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Carlson says “politicized” and “sensationalized” by the media and Democrats to “achieve their own political interests”.

Matt Kibbe, a libertarian activist and president of Free People, said Gabbard’s political evolution was original and showed her to be a political disruptor.

“Some of the most interesting people in politics today are people from the left who are shocked by the battles over disinformation and online censorship, as well as the Covid lockdowns,” he said.

And he will not say If he plans to vote for Trump, he clearly thinks he will be better than Biden. Often pressing for a wholesale political coup, Gabbard’s explanation is almost always the same: Democrats lost their way and overreached, which led to her realizing she was on the wrong team.

Her father, Mike Gabbard, was a longtime state senator in Hawaii who switched parties himself, moving from the GOP to the Democratic side of the aisle and gaining notoriety for his opposition to same-sex marriage. He’s made big changes before: Gabbard Jr. supported his efforts closely before In 2012, he apologized for his anti-gay propaganda and again during the presidential campaign.

His shift upset some new ideological allies, and his critics on the right repeated old comments, including when he said it would be a “one.”disaster” Controlling Washington for Trump and the Republicans; he called Trump, who was president at the time.Saudi Arabia’s b—-“; and voiced his 100% rating on abortion rights From the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Longabaugh said there’s a reason why Gabbard is seen as a star by people across the political spectrum.

“He’s outspoken, he’s a good public speaker, he showed that right away [Democratic presidential] the debate over whether he can repeal it — whether he’s doing a good job for himself is a different matter,” Longabaugh said. “Yedim is kind of Trump’s brand. So if he was just looking for an aggressive negative campaigner, I guess he would have passed this bill. can fill.

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