Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was the only member of the House to vote “present” on the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Gabbard refused to take a position in favor or against either of the charges brought against the president: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Gabbard did not vote in any of the four procedural votes earlier in the day, nor did she speak speak, as other members did, during several hours of debate preceding the two votes.
Gabbard is running for the Democratic nomination while also frequently criticizing the party’s establishment, particularly on foreign policy, where the combat veteran has opposed foreign intervention. Wednesday’s vote marked another break with the party for Gabbard, who announced in October she’s not planning to run for reelection to represent her Hawaii district.
All told, 230 members of Congress voted to impeach the president for the first count, 197 voted against. On the second count, 229 supported impeachment, 198 opposed.
Two Democrats voted against impeachment: Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, also a Democrat, was sufficiently convinced on abuse of power, but did not believe Trump obstructed Congress.
New York Rep. Jose Seranno, who was hospitalized last month, was the only Democrat not to vote on either charge. Republicans Duncan Hunter and John Shimkus did not vote either. Hunter, who recently pleaded guilty to misusing campaign donations, plans to resign from Congress in the coming weeks. Shimkus cited prior travel plans for missing the historical vote, but said Tuesday he was theoretically against impeachment: “Had I been there, you’d know how I would have voted.”
After abstaining on Tuesday night the presidential candidate released a vague, obtuse appeal to bipartisanship. “I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing. I come before you to make a stand for the center, to appeal to all of you to bridge our differences and stand up for the American people,” Gabbard said in a statement. “My vote today is a vote for much needed reconciliation and hope that together we can heal our country. Let’s work side-by-side, seeking common ground, to usher in a bright future for the American people, our country, and our nation. I am confident that the American people will decide to deliver a resounding rebuke of President Trump’s innumerable improprieties and abuses. And they will express that judgment at the ballot box.”
Gabbard announced earlier this year she would not be seeking re-election to her seat in Congress this fall; Donald Trump lost her Hawaii district by almost 32 points in 2016.