Hawaii Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announces 2020 run for president

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) will run for president, she announced Friday, entering a soon-to-be-crowded field of Democrats hoping to unseat Donald Trump. But Gabbard will stand out from her competitors not for her progressive domestic agenda, but for her support of nationalists and authoritarians abroad. At a time when members of both parties worry about the rise of autocrats, dictators, and nationalist movements around the world, Gabbard has embraced some of them.

Gabbard’s foreign policy has become a major part of her identity. It has prompted primary challenges back home in Hawaii. In Washington, DC, she’s drawn attention for her support for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and right-wing nationalists in India. In 2017, a Washington Post columnist dubbed her “Assad’s mouthpiece in Washington.” Around the same time, the Daily Beastdescribed her as a “self-styled ‘progressive,’” raising questions about where her true political beliefs lie. As she enters the Democratic primary, the question is whether—or how—she convinces liberal voters to look past this record.

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