Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat representative from Hawaii, who was the first Hindu to enter the US Congress in 2012, is reportedly considering running for the US presidential elections in 2020.
Gabbard was the first Representative to use Bhagavad Gita at her swearing-in ceremony. Previously, she had endorsed Bernie Sanders as Presidential nominee against Hillary Clinton in 2016 elections.
Tulsi Gabbard does not have direct links to India or any ancestry with Hinduism. It was her mother who embraced Hinduism, and later her father followed. Her family gave her and other siblings the Hindu names. Tulsi is a strict vegetarian from childhood and follows Gaudiya Vaishnavism sect.
Her views on foreign policy include non-interventionist approach towards Middle-east and Obama like populist approach towards the economy, acquiring her great praise from Bernie Sanders, Democrat Presidential nominee in 2016. She also had sparked controversy in 2017 by meeting Russian backed Syrian Dictator Bashar Assad and expressing scepticism over American claims of Assad using chemical weapons against own people.
— CNN (@CNN) April 7, 2017
She had also criticized Barack Obama for going soft on radical Islam, and refraining to label ISIL as an Islamist group.
She termed the denial of visa by the US to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as a ‘great blunder’ in 2002. In November 2013, Gabbard opposed a House resolution that called for “religious freedom and related human rights to be included in the United States-India Strategic Dialogue and for such issues to be raised directly with federal and state Indian government officials,” saying it would weaken the friendship between India and US.
Speculations related to Gabbard running for Presidential elections surfaced after reports of employing digital and speechwriting staff for Gabbard. Her assistant Rania Batrice did not deny any speculations related to it, according to Politico.
Gabbard had met Prime Minister Modi after his historic speech in September 2014 at Madison Square. She had gifted Prime Minister, the same copy of Bhagavad Gita, she had taken oath on, in her first swearing-in ceremony and also vocalised her support for International Yoga Day.
She also visited India, subsequently. The leftist portal The Telegraph had labelled Gabbard as the “the Sangh’s mascot”, citing her penchant for Indic traditions, and Prime Minister Modi.
She has also served in Field Medical Unit in combat zones like Iraq and Kuwait.
Her entry as the Presidential nominee is seen as a direct confrontation with Republican candidate Indian-American Nikki Haley, who is currently US Ambassador to UN (though she will resign by end of the year), who also is speculated to be running for President in 2020.