Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says she will run for president in 2020

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has settled speculation about her political ambitions with her announcement that she’ll run for president in the 2020 election.

“I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week,” Gabbard told CNN’s Van Jones during an interview scheduled to air at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Gabbard’s declaration follows a Dec. 12 appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball” in which she said she was “seriously considering” a presidential run.  

“I’m concerned about the direction of the country,” Gabbard told host Chris Matthews.

Gabbard, 37, enters what’s likely to be a crowded Democratic field. She could find herself competing against the likes of such heavy hitters as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and former Vice President Joe Biden for the party’s nomination.

Gabbard became the first Hindu member of Congress when she was elected to the U.S. House in 2012. She also was one of the first female combat veterans elected to Congress ― deployed to Iraq from 2004 to 2005, and to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009 as a member of the Hawaii Army National Guard. 

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard throughout her political career
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard throughout her political career
US Democratic Representative from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard speaks during a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) on 'The Plight of Religious Minorities in India' on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 4, 2014. Several US lawmakers voiced concern for the future of religious minorities in India in a hearing that critics denounced as an attempt to influence upcoming elections. With polls starting April 7 in the world's largest democracy, several activists testifying before the US Congress' human rights commission expressed fear for the treatment of Muslims and Christians if Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi becomes the next prime minister, as surveys predict. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
First Hindu Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, speaks at the unveiling ceremony of life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Secaucus, NJ on May 31, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 25: Davan Gabbard (L), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (C) and Emily Tisch Sussman attend ELLE's annual Women in Washington Power List dinner hosted by Robbie Myers, ELLE Editor-in-Chief, with Gucci at Villa Firenze, the home of the Italian Ambassador, on March 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Elle)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington D.C., Sunday, March 10, 2013. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 13: Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, attends news conference with democratic freshmen members-elect, in the Capitol Visitor Center. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 26: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, talks with Joe Scarborough, of MSNBC, before the Congressional Women's Softball game that pits Congresswomen against female journalists at Watkins Recreation Center on Capitol Hill. The reporters prevailed in a 11-8 victory. The game benefits the Young Survival Coalition that helps young women with breast cancer. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEB. 01, 2012: Tulsi Gabbard interviewed at Roll Call in Washington D.C. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call Photos)
UNITED STATES - JULY 26: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, nominates Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark)
US Representative Tulsi Gabbard speaks during Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 26, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, greets Celestino Almeda, a veteran reprinting the Philippine Commonwealth Army, during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in Emancipation Hall to honor Filipino veterans of World War II on October 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, attends a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in Emancipation Hall to honor Filipino veterans of World War II on October 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 06: Tulsi Gabbard speaks at Bernie Sanders 'A future to believe in San Francisco GOTV Concert' at Crissy Field San Francisco on June 6, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 17: Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Brian Mast, R-Fla., conduct a news conference in Rayburn Building on the Burn Pits Accountability Act, which evaluates the 'exposure of U.S. service members and veterans to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals,' on May 17, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05: Abraham Williams (L) and Tulsi Gabbard attend the Sean Penn CORE Gala benefiting the organization formerly known as J/P HRO & its life-saving work across Haiti & the world at The Wiltern on January 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for CORE, formerly J/P HRO )
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Though considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, Gabbard has displayed an unorthodox approach to progressive leadership.

She threw her support behind Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign ― an endorsement that led her to publicly resign from her role as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Gabbard positioned herself as one of President Barack Obama’s fiercest critics over his handling of the so-called Islamic State. She has made no secret of her controversial views on the Middle East and Islam, and criticized Obama for refusing to use the phrase “radical Islam” to discuss jihadist groups. She opposes admitting Syrian refugees to the United States.

She drew criticism in 2017 for meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has been accused of war crimes for massacreing, torturing and starving civilians.

Gabbard also met with Donald Trump after the election in November 2016 to discuss Syria and terrorism policy. Though Gabbard has been aligned with Trump over some aspects of Middle East policy ― including whether the U.S. should provide support for Syrian militias fighting Assad ― she recently called Trump “Saudi Arabia’s bitch” for his failure to react to the Saudi killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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