Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is reporting for duty. The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate revealed on Monday that she'll be leaving for active duty in Indonesia with the National Guard for two weeks, where she'll participate in a joint-training exercise with the Indonesian military. She returns to the campaign trail on Aug. 25.
"I look forward to joining my fellow soldiers for a joint-training exercise with the Indonesian military, focused on counterterrorism and disaster response," she said in a statement on Monday.
The press are wondering if she's concerned whether this will be a "setback" for her campaign. But as she told Fox News's Paul Steinhauser, she's "not thinking about the politics of it."
Gabbard's 16 years of military service has included a deployment to Iraq in 2004 and another to Kuwait in 2008. One of the most consistent features of her campaign has been her call to end long, costly wars.
The congresswoman had just started to gain momentum after confronting Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) over her criminal justice record in the last debate.
“She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana," Gabbard revealed on stage.
Her public takedown of Harris gained her some fans, but it also left her open to criticism about her foreign policy. As Sen. Harris reminded voters an hour or so after the debate, Gabbard has been an "apologist" for Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
In a recent campaign event, Gabbard explained that she will talk to dictators anywhere, any time if it means protecting Americans.
"So I will continue to meet with brutal dictators in the pursuit of preventing more of our brothers and sisters from being sent into harm's way on missions that make our country less safe, that cause more loss of life, then I will do so," she said.
I will talk with brutal dictators anywhere in the world if I can prevent one of my brother and sisters in uniform from dying on foreign soil in senseless regime change wars. The only alternative to diplomacy is war. #TULSI2020 pic.twitter.com/yGE9QwH1bK— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) August 7, 2019
"I will continue to meet with brutal dictators in the pursuit of preventing more of our brothers and sisters from being sent into harm's way on missions that make our country less safe, that cause more loss of life, then I will do so," she said.