President-elect Donald Trump is meeting Monday with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), stoking speculation that the prominent Bernie Sanders ally could join Trump’s administration.
The meeting with Gabbard, Trump’s first of the work week, was supposed to get underway around 10 a.m., according to a transition pool report. Trump aides did not provide further detail, and reporters assembled in the lobby of Trump Tower said they did not spot Gabbard entering the building.
Trump’s transition team has said he is meeting with candidates for administration positions as well as people who can provide ideas and counsel. Gabbard, who voted for Clinton on Nov. 8 after serving as a key surrogate for Sanders, shares some positions with Trump, including opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
A spokesman for Trump declined to say whether Gabbard is under consideration for a position. “She obviously has a very distinguished track record. But it would be a little premature to start putting out specific potential administration positions,” said Jason Miller on a call Monday morning with reporters.
Our colleague Amber Phillips has some thoughts on why Gabbard got a meeting:
This meeting isn’t as weird as one might think. Gabbard is arguably one of the most likely Democrats to cross party lines to meet with Trump. She’s a Democrat who Republicans love to love, for a variety of reasons.
On foreign policy, Gabbard often sounds more like a hawkish Republican than a potential future Democratic leader. She has blasted President Obama for failing to talk about Islamic extremism and has criticized his approach to Syria …
Gabbard, one of two female combat veterans to join Congress in 2013, also got national attention last fall for duking it out with Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), then the Democratic National Committee chair, on Democrats’ debate schedule, an implicit criticism that the party wasn’t doing enough to help candidates not named Hillary Clinton compete. (It was a refrain Trump himself echoed in the final days of the primaries.)
In short, Gabbard is a wildcard who has given her party as many headaches in her short-ish time on the national stage as she has blessings. (Sound like a certain president-elect we know?) And Republicans love her for that.
Trump will also meet Monday with former senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R), former Texas governor Rick Perry (R) and others.
Following her meeting, Gabbard said she spoke with Trump about her opposition to escalating U.S. involvement in the war in Syria.
“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,” Gabbard said in a statement.
“While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives.”