Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a high-profile Bernie Sanders supporter during the Democratic primary, is “under serious consideration” for various cabinet positions in president-elect Donald Trump’s administration, according to a senior level official within the transition team.
According to the official, the 35-year-old Hawaii congresswoman is being looked as a potential candidate for secretary of state, secretary of defense and United Nations ambassador positions. If selected, Gabbard would be the first woman as well as the youngest pick for Trump’s cabinet.
Gabbard met this morning with Trump in his New York City offices at Trump Tower. The top Trump transition source describes their sit down as a “terrific meeting” and the Trump team sees her as “very” impressive.
The Democrat has been known to buck her party both in Congress and during the contentious Democratic primary. In February, she left her position as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to support Sanders. In Congress, Gabbard has broken with House Democrats on the Syrian civil war (she supports keeping President Bashar Al-Assad in power) and Syrian refugees (she voted for a GOP bill last year to impose stricter background checks on refugees).
Monday afternoon, Gabbard released a lengthy statement on her meeting with the president-elect, saying he asked to meet with her about “our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face.” She said they had a “frank and positive conversation in which we discussed a variety of foreign policy issues in depth.”
“I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government—a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families,” Gabbard said in the statement, adding that she would not let politics get in the way of meeting with the future president. “I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives.”
She added that when she disagrees with Trump, “I will not hesitate to express that disagreement.”
“However, I believe we can disagree, even strongly, but still come together on issues that matter to the American people and affect their daily lives. We cannot allow continued divisiveness to destroy our country…I shared with him my grave concerns that escalating the war in Syria by implementing a so-called no fly/safe zone would be disastrous for the Syrian people, our country, and the world,” she said. “It would lead to more death and suffering, exacerbate the refugee crisis, strengthen ISIS and al-Qaeda, and bring us into a direct conflict with Russia which could result in a nuclear war. We discussed my bill to end our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government, and the need to focus our precious resources on rebuilding our own country, and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups who pose a threat to the American people.”
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