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Tulsi Gabbard Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the life of former US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who represented Hawaii’s 2nd District and was a 2020 presidential candidate.


Birth date: April 12, 1981

Birth place: Leloaloa, American Samoa

Birth name: Tulsi Gabbard

Father: Mike Gabbard, Hawaii state senator

Mother: Carol (Porter) Gabbard, former Hawaii Board of Education member

Marriages: Abraham Williams (2015-present); Eduardo Tamayo (2002-2006, divorced)

Education: Hawaii Pacific University, B.S.B.A., 2009

Military service: Hawaii Army National Guard, 2003-2020, Major; US Army Reserve, 2020-present, Lieutenant Colonel

Religion: Hinduism

Other Facts

As a teenager, co-founded Healthy Hawai’i Coalition, an environmental non-profit.

She is the first American Samoan congresswoman and first practicing Hindu member of the US Congress.

She is an avid surfer.


2002 – At age 21, is elected to the Hawaii State House to represent West Oahu, making her the youngest woman ever elected to the state legislature.

2003 – Enlists in the Hawaii Army National Guard. She completes her basic training between legislative sessions.

2004-2005 – Gabbard’s unit is activated, and she voluntarily deploys, serving with a field medical unit in Iraq.

2006-2009 – Legislative aide to Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii.

2007 – Graduates from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy. This makes Gabbard the first woman in the Academy’s 50-year history to earn the title of the distinguished honor graduate.

2008-2009 – Gabbard deploys to Kuwait, training counterterrorism units.

November 2, 2010 – Is elected to the Honolulu City Council.

2011 – Founds the film production company, Kanu Productions.

November 6, 2012 – Defeats David “Kawika” Crowley in the 2nd Congressional District of Hawaii for the US House of Representatives.

January 22, 2013 – Elected vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

August 28, 2013 – Aniruddha Sherbow is apprehended in Tijuana, Mexico, after making threats against Gabbard that the FBI and US Capitol Police “deemed credible.” Sherbow is later sentenced to 33 months in prison.

October 12, 2015 – On CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Gabbard says she was disinvited from a Democratic presidential debate after voicing a call for more of them.

October 12, 2015 – Is promoted by the Hawaii Army National Guard from captain to major at a ceremony in Hawaii.

November 20, 2015 – Calls for the United States to let Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remain in power.

February 28, 2016 – On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Gabbard announces her decision to step down as DNC vice chair to endorse Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid.

November 21, 2016 – Meets with President-elect Donald Trump. “President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face,” Gabbard says in a statement.

January 25, 2017 – Gabbard tells CNN’s Jake Tapper that she met with Assad during an unannounced, four-day trip to Syria. “When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so because I felt that it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we can achieve peace,” Gabbard says.

January 31, 2017 – Facing criticism, Gabbard issues a statement saying that she will personally pay for her trip to Syria.

April 7, 2017 – Gabbard claims she’s “skeptical” that Assad’s regime was behind a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens in Syria though the President, secretary of state and Pentagon officials found that Assad’s regime was responsible for the attack.

November 21, 2018 – Gabbard refers to Trump as “Saudi Arabia’s bitch” in a tweet after he issues a statement backing Saudi Arabia in the wake of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

January 11, 2019 – Gabbard tells CNN’s Van Jones she will run for president in 2020, during an interview slated to air on January 12. “There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I’m concerned about and that I want to help solve,” she says.

January 17, 2019 – Gabbard issues an apology for her past comments and actions against the LGBTQ community following CNN reporting that she supported her father’s anti-gay organization, The Alliance for Traditional Marriage. Gabbard had previously apologized in 2012 while running for Congress.

January 20, 2019 – Gabbard says that she does not regret meeting with Assad in 2017, adding that American leaders must meet with foreign leaders “if we are serious about the pursuit of peace and securing our country.”

February 2, 2019 – Gabbard officially launches her 2020 presidential campaign at an event in Hawaii.

October 17, 2019 – In a podcast interview, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton suggests that the Russians are “grooming” a current Democratic presidential candidate to run as a third-party and champion their interests. The comment appears to be directed at Gabbard, who has previously been accused of being boosted by Russia. In her response, Gabbard calls Clinton “the queen of warmongers,” and concludes, “It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”

October 24, 2019 – Gabbard releases a campaign video announcing that she won’t run for reelection to Congress in 2020.

December 18, 2019 – Votes “present” on both articles of impeachment against Trump.

January 22, 2020 – Gabbard files a defamation lawsuit against Clinton, alleging the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee “lied” about Gabbard’s ties to Russia. She drops the defamation lawsuit in May.

March 19, 2020 – Ends her 2020 presidential campaign and endorses former Vice President Joe Biden.

October 11, 2022 – Gabbard announces that she is leaving the Democratic Party. She does not indicate which party she will be affiliated with moving forward but calls on “independent-minded Democrats” to join her in leaving.

January 9, 2024 – Social media platform X announces a content partnership with Gabbard.

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