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Report: Tulsi Gabbard Declines RFK Jr.'s VP Offer

By Christina Davie
|
April 4, 2024

In a surprising turn of events, former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has turned down the chance to join Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in his quest for the presidency as an independent candidate.

According to ABC News, Gabbard declined Kennedy's offer, leading to the selection of Nicole Shanahan as the independent hopeful's vice-presidential candidate.

Gabbard, a former Democrat who left the party in 2022, was among several high-profile individuals considered for the role. Her relationship with Kennedy, marked by mutual respect and a series of meetings, underscores the deliberative nature of her decision.

Kennedy's VP Search

Before making his decision, Kennedy explored various potential partners for his independent bid. Among them were former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and television host Mike Rowe. However, none stirred as much interest as Gabbard, given her military background and recent political engagement.

Ultimately, Kennedy announced Silicon Valley lawyer Nicole Shanahan as his choice during a rally in Oakland, California. Shanahan's youth and her contributions to health and artificial intelligence impressed Kennedy, aligning with his vision for the campaign.

The decision to partner with Shanahan came after careful consideration of several candidates, highlighting the campaign's strategic approach to the 2024 presidential race.

Behind the Scenes of a Political Decision

Though Gabbard's declination was not previously publicized, it marks a significant moment in the run-up to the presidential election. A source close to Kennedy acknowledged the discussions with Gabbard, emphasizing her stature in the political arena despite the ultimate decision to go another way.

Gabbard's statement on the matter was clear and reflective of her independent stance in recent years. "I met with Kennedy several times, and we have become good friends," she said. "He asked if I would be his running mate. After careful consideration, I respectfully declined."

This development adds another layer to Gabbard's political journey, which has been characterized by her departure from the Democratic Party and her critical views on its direction.

Gabbard's Political Path and Controversial Choices

Gabbard's decision not to join Kennedy’s ticket may reflect her broader political evolution. After running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2019, she publicly left the party, critiquing it for its direction and internal dynamics.

Her criticisms of "warmongers" within the Democratic Party and support for policies like Florida's ban on LGBTQ+ topics in certain school classrooms have distinguished her from mainstream Democratic politics.

Moreover, Gabbard's military service, including deployments to Iraq and Kuwait, and her active-duty participation during the 2020 presidential campaign underscore her unique profile in the political landscape.

A Controversial Figure in American Politics

Among the most controversial aspects of Gabbard's career was her 2017 visit to Syria, where she met with President Bashar al-Assad. This move, which she defended as a pursuit of peace, drew significant criticism from within her own party.

Additionally, her decision to vote "present" during President Donald Trump's impeachment in 2019 was seen as an act of protest against partisanship, further highlighting her willingness to break from party lines.

These actions, along with her outspoken views, have fueled speculation about her future in politics, including rumors of a potential vice-presidential pick for Trump.

Reflecting on a Complex Political Journey

As Gabbard prepares to release her upcoming book, For Love of Country: Leave the Democrat Party Behind, she continues to engage in a dialogue about her political beliefs and her vision for America's future.

Her stance on various issues, combined with her military service and independent political moves, sets her apart in the current political discourse.

While her decision not to join Kennedy's ticket closes one chapter, it undoubtedly opens another in Gabbard's intriguing and unpredictable political career.

Conclusion: A Decision Shaped by Principle

In conclusion, Tulsi Gabbard's refusal to serve as Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s running mate underscores her commitment to her principles and independence in the political arena.

From her military service and controversial decisions to her criticisms of party politics, Gabbard remains a figure of considerable interest and speculation. As the presidential race heats up, her future moves will be closely watched by supporters and critics alike.