“Although I may not agree with the vice president on every issue, I know that he has a good heart, and he’s motivated by his love for our country and the American people. I’m confident that he will lead our country guided by the spirit of aloha, respect and compassion, and thus help heal the divisiveness that has been tearing our country apart,” she said in a video posted to Twitter.
A second former presidential rival, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y), also endorsed Biden on Thursday, joining a dozen other former competitors to back his bid to become the Democratic nominee.
“He’s the absolute best candidate to defeat President Trump and I think he is the person who has gained the trust and the respect of the American people in a way that no one else has,” said Gillibrand in an interview with The Washington Post. “The truth is he’s run the strongest campaign.”
Gabbard, 38, an Iraq War veteran, ran on ending the United States’s involvement in “endless wars” and toppling the military-industrial complex.
In her video announcing the end of her campaign, she voiced appreciation for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and his “desire to improve the lives of all Americans.”
Gabbard, who was first elected to her House seat in 2012, endorsed Sanders for president in 2016 and resigned as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. For many Sanders supporters, she was seen as a rising star and ally who had already fought the party machine.
“As a veteran of two Middle East deployments, I know firsthand the cost of war,” Gabbard said when endorsing Sanders. She criticized Hillary Clinton as a “hawk” and kept attacking Clinton into 2020, even suing her after the 2016 nominee claimed she was being “groomed” as a spoiler candidate. (A spokesman for Clinton later suggested that she may well have been groomed by Russians.)
But Gabbard never had the same animus toward Biden. After the second Democratic debate in Detroit, when asked why she did not criticize Biden’s Iraq War vote the way she had Clinton’s, Gabbard said it was “because he apologized.”
In Thursday’s video, she also referenced her personal relationships with the Bidens, saying, “I know Vice President Biden and his wife, and I’m grateful to have called his son Beau a friend who also served in the National Guard.”
Last fall, Gabbard announced she would not seek reelection to the House — and also began all but abandoning campaigning in Iowa, where she ultimately received zero percent none of the state delegate equivalents. Instead, she opted to go all in on New Hampshire, where she finished with about 3.3 percent of the vote.
Gabbard, who was born in American Samoa and is of Samoan, Polynesian and Caucasian descent, was the only remaining nonwhite candidate in what had started out as a historically diverse Democratic field.
David Weigel and Annie Linskey contributed to this report.