“I think impeachment, unfortunately, will only further embolden Donald Trump, increase his support and the likelihood that he’ll have a better shot at getting elected while also seeing the likelihood that the House will lose a lot of seats to Republicans,” she told ABC News.
The 2020 presidential candidate added that if Trump is acquitted in his impeachment trial, it could leave “lasting damage” on the country as a whole.
“Thinking about what’s politically advantageous, whether for me or for my party, does not enter into my mind around these decisions that have really great consequence,” she said.
Gabbard was the only member of the House to vote “present” on the two articles of impeachment against Trump on Dec. 18. She later said it was because she definitively wasn’t for or against impeachment.
“I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing,” she said. “I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”
Her decision prompted Hawaii’s former governor, Democrat Neil Abercrombie, to call for her to resign.
Former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) also criticized Gabbard’s vote as “just stupid.”
“I don’t know what this woman thinks she’s accomplishing by that. I guess getting attention. We’re talking about her, and really we shouldn’t spend any time talking about her,” she said on MSNBC.