Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who has made recent trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, confirmed Wednesday night that she is “seriously considering” a 2020 White House bid.
Gabbard, 37, considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, was one of the first female combat veterans to join Congress and was a high-profile supporter of the 2016 presidential bid of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
During an appearance Wednesday night on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Gabbard was asked if she is planning to run for president, an office recently held by another politician with roots in Hawaii, former president Barack Obama.
“I’m seriously considering it,” Gabbard said, adding: “I’m concerned about the direction of the country.”
Pressed by host Chris Matthews on what might stop her, Gabbard said: “I don’t know. I’m thinking through it very carefully.”
If Gabbard moves forward with a presidential bid, she will join what is expected to be a crowded Democratic field, possibly including Sanders, who is looking at another White House run.
While in New Hampshire earlier this month, Gabbard brushed off a question about whether Sanders’s plans would have an impact on her decision, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
“I think you’ll have to ask him about what his plans are,” she said. “I’m thinking through how I can best be of service to our country.”
During stops in New Hampshire, Gabbard reportedly highlighted her support for a single-payer Medicare-for-all health-care bill and her efforts to reduce the influence of money in politics, among other policies.
If she won, Gabbard would be the youngest person to be elected president. To date, the youngest has been John F. Kennedy, who was 43.
Gabbard was first elected to the House in 2012, becoming the first Hindu member of Congress.
She served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard in a combat zone in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and was deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009.
Gabbard has since advocated for an anti-interventionist foreign policy.
She previously served as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, a position she left in 2016 when she announced her support for Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination over Hillary Clinton.