Washington: Could a Hindu occupy the highest office in the United States?
Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, has said Friday that she is running for the White House as a democratic party candidate. If she wins, she would create history — not only as a Hindu president but as the first women to occupy the position.
Gabbard has been a strong supporter of India and closer US-India ties as well as of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She is not of Indian descent but comes from a Hindu family in Hawaii.
She took oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita when she was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2011.
A formal announcement from her camp is expected shortly. But she is already trending on the social media space in India. The race to the White House is a long drawn battle, the first of which is clearing her party’s nomination process.
Barnie Sanders, who lost the party’s nomination to Hillary Clinton might also jump into the fray this time. Gabbard, who was elected to Hawaii state legislature when she was only 21, is the youngest person running for the presidency so far for 2020.
If she wins her party’s ticket to contest the polls, she could probably be pitted against another Indian American — the former US Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Haley.
Republican Haley could jump into the fray provided President Donald Trump decides against running for a second term.
“I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week”, Gabbard, a four-time Democratic lawmaker in the US House of Representatives from Hawaii, told CNN Friday.
“The main reason I’m running has to do with an issue that is central to the rest — war and peace. I look forward to talking with you more about this in the coming days. When we stand together, united by our love for each other and for our country, there is no challenge we cannot overcome,” she wrote in an email sent to her supporters.
She is a combat veteran who has served in Iraq. She has advocated cutting US aid to Pakistan and pressuring it to end its support international terrorism.
Soon after Trump was elected in 2016, Gabbard met him amid rumours that she may be offered a job in his administration.