The Hawaii delegation to Congress has long been known as one of the closest in Washington, but this tradition shattered this week when Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tulsi GabbardHouse approved the new rule package Dem The Democrats are making a list, double-checking WHIP LIST: who is inside and out in the race 2020 MORE publicly criticized the Democratic colleague Sen. Mazie Hirono interrogation of a judicial candidate.
Gabbard, who announced on Friday that he had decided to run for president in 2020, made headlines and an irritated response from Hirono at the beginning of the week implicitly accusing the senator and other democrats in an editorial published in La Collina of having "armed religion for their own selfish gain" in their interrogation
While Gabbard did not mention Hirono by name , his Hawaiian colleague clearly saw action as a friendly fire.
Hirono, an explicit critic of President Trump Donald John TrumpAnalyst says that Trump's base will support him if he pulls back from the wall funding request The writer "Green Book" apologizes for the Islamophobic tweet : "I'll do better" finds Trump's 44% approval rating in the shutdown MORE responded to the fire in a statement that had made Gabbard give ammunition to Trump's right-wing allies.
"For the past two years, the senator has been attacked by right-wing ideologists for examining Donald Trump's ideologically-driven candidates in the courts, and it's a pity that Congressman Gabbard based his erroneous opinion on the extreme right handling of these simple questions, "said Honor's spokesman Will Dempster.
A Gabbard spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Spokesperson Gabbard Lauren McIlvaine in a statement to the Washington Post said Gabbard "will always fight for religious freedom and will oppose religious fanaticism – no matter where it comes from or who it is headed for".
"Congressman Tulsi Gabbard respects Senator Hirono," McIlvaine said. He added that "no candidate for public service should be disqualified, directly or indirectly because of his religion or religious affiliation."
The criticisms of his fellow Democrats – including his state senator – were a bold move by Gabbard and viewed by political observers in Hawaii preparing for a White House campaign.
"I suspect the editorial was written to coincide with the plan to announce his candidacy to the president," former Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie told The Hill, who served 19 years at the Congress. "The people who support his presidential campaign probably think it will help, but I'm not sure."
Gabbard said in an interview that will be broadcast by CNN on Saturday that will run for the presidency and will make a formal announcement within the following week.
Gabbard may not have the national supremacy to win the Democratic nomination, but it could be a prominent choice as a vice-presidential choice if he can demonstrate the ability to woo fundamental Catholic voters. They were a crucial constituency in 2016 and probably will still be in 2020.
Colin Moore, director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Hawaii Manoa, said that Gabbard could try to distance himself from the rest of his delegation.
"You could characterize her as an independent or a bit reckless thinker," he said. "It could also be personal to her, she's Hindu and her father is pretty religious."
Whatever the reason, it made Hawaii waves tremble.
"Not only does it break conventional wisdom, it is very strange for someone in the Hawaii delegation to do this, they really think of themselves as a team and there is this expectation among voters who will operate as a team", said Moore. "A criticism like this is unheard of."
Hirono did not comment on what could have motivated Gabbard, although he did not underestimate the role of the 2020 race.
"Other people have made this suggestion," Hirono told The Hill. "I'm not inside his head, but what I do know is that his piece has led to all these far-right groups who have criticized me for a while now beyond my fairness questions about these candidates. – The right groups are rushing in. So if that's what he wanted is what he's getting. "
Gabbard criticized the Democrats at the Senate Judiciary Committee for asking Trump's Intendant , Brian Buescher, to use in the United States District Court for Nebraska because of his Catholic convictions.
Hirono sits in the committee and his written questions to Buescher include if he would be refused by a case relating to abortion rights, and if he intended to end his membership of the Knights of Columbus to avoid an appearance of bias in legal decisions .
Gabbard saw questions about Buescher's membership of the Knights of Columbus as a veiled veiling anticollulcion, an opinion shared by many conservatives after the debate.
"If Buescher is" unqualified "because of his Catholicism and affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, then with President John F. Kennedy and with the" liberal lion of the Senate "Ted Kennedy would have been" unqualified "for the same reasons ", wrote Gabbard in his editorial.
Gabbard has also targeted Sen. Dianne Feinstein Dianne Emiel FeinsteinBlumenthal: DOJ denying the Dems meetings with the candidate of the AG Barr, citing the interruption of energy during night: Trump threatens to stop FEMA funding for fires in California | Wheeler was officially appointed as EPA manager | Wildlife escapes to staff on closure Feinstein explodes the "empty threat" of Trump to withhold FEMA funding from California MORE (California), the senior jury democratic, for defying Amy Coney Barrett, the nominee of Trump at the 7th Circuit Court of appeals, on his strongly supported religious opinions.
"No American should be asked to renounce his faith or his membership in a faith-based service organization in order to hold public office," Gabbard said in his speech.
The column unleashed a ruckus in the normally quiet world of Hawaii Congress delegations, where legislators traditionally work together to direct federal dollars to Hawaii.
Hirono told The Hill that Gabbard erroneously defined the nature of his opposition to Trump's candidates.
"I'm sorry he did not call me so I could put it directly in relation to the concern he had," he said.
Hirono explained that his acute questioning on Trump's candidates is not motivated by prejudices against religious beliefs, but instead concern the fact that they are giving more weight to their personal opinions than the law.
"All these Trump candidates who come before our judicial commission for lifelong appointments come after taking very strong positions on issues such as a woman's right to choose, LGBTQ rights, all this – contrary to decisions of the Supreme Court, by the way, "he said. "I want to make sure through my questions that they can put aside their ideological perspectives strongly supported to be fair and impartial with their appointments throughout their lives."
Hirono said he had issued a statement but did not contact Gabbard directly after the op-ed appeared.
Abercrombie said that Gabbard articulated a valid principle, according to which people should not be detained by the government service because of their religious opinions.
But he also said that Hirono was right in making sure that the nominees of Trump were not so prejudiced political points of view that they were incapable of making impartial decisions.
"I was not born when Al Smith was attacked for his Catholic beliefs, but I remember John Kennedy John Neely KennedyMORE ," he said, referring to the Democratic presidential candidate who was attacked for his Catholicism in the presidential race of 1928.
Kennedy, a Catholic, spoke of religious tolerance and separation of church and state from the Grand Houston Ministerial Assembly during the 1960 presidential campaign.
"I understand the principle but it is a pity that it is devolved to personality in the context of Sen. Hirono," said Abercrombie. "I am saddened by the fact that it is seen as directed to Sen. Hirono."
But he added: "Tulsi Gabbard would never have wanted to be unjust."
Gabbard won a national spotlight during the 2016 presidential primaries as one of the few congressional Democrats willing to serve as a free supporter for Sen. Bernie Sanders Bernard (Bernie) SandersChuck Todd on Bernie Sanders: "If you can not manage a campaign, how do you manage the country?? & # 39; Ocasio-Cortez quotes Rorschach of "Watchmen" in response to criticism Dem The union leader of the firefighters says that the members are attracted to Biden MORE (Vt. .), An independent who gave Hillary Clinton Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton the omissions distort the narrative of the Russian probe … and protect the democrats Bradley Whitford: "Trump made me white hair" bullying in the districts of Virginia in support of Trump rose after the 2016 elections: study MORE a surprisingly difficult race for the Democratic nomination.
While most of the As Democrat supported Clinton, Gabbard resigned from the vice-presidency of the Democratic National Committee to support Sanders after clashing with committee colleagues for a discussion program that seemed to favor Clinton.
Hawaiian political experts think that Gabbard has carefully examined the column before publishing it in a forum of the D.C.
"I know Gabbard is a very cautious politician and does not take a position on a whim, so I expect him to have some electoral research to support his position and attack," said Richard Borreca, a political editorialist at the time. Star advertiser from Honolulu.
Gabbard has surprised the first democratic political establishment.
In January 2017, he revealed that he met Syrian leader Bashar Assad, a move that angered the politicians of both sides who questioned the opportunity to sit with a figure accused of having gassed the his own people.
Gabbard said he felt it was important for anyone interested in bringing peace to Syria to meet with those, like Assad, who could end the long Syrian war.