Yesterday, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, launched a mild Twitter attack on the then-candidate who has now emerged as the latest front-runner in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, Congressman Pete Buttigieg. The remarks appear to have struck a nerve, since Buttigieg tweeted on Friday that he would support his second female opponent for president in 2020.
Today, Buttigieg told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt that he wasn’t going to acknowledge the competition he or Gabbard had with each other, but rather emphasized that the fight between the three would be to take on President Donald Trump.
“I’m not going to engage in a direct and lengthy set of debates on Twitter,” he said. “I’m a policy wonk, and I value my communication skills, but let’s really take it in as a challenge to advance policy to help everyone, especially middle-class voters, this very anxious period we’re in right now, and try to beat Donald Trump.”
Buttigieg also cited the substantial challenges his party will face in the next election, with significant votes coming from states that President Trump won and critical election contests being contested in other states. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.
Gabbard, meanwhile, told The Guardian that she intended to stand by her initial criticisms of Buttigieg. “I will be following his campaign closely and continue to encourage him to develop progressive policies that will dramatically improve the lives of all Americans,” she said.
Yet, she also expanded on her criticism of President Trump in an interview with John Batchelor, the syndicated radio host. In an attempt to portray Buttigieg as a potential “RINO Democrat,” Gabbard accused the candidate of supporting the Iraq War. She argued that President Trump had no ethical or moral right to occupy the White House while saying, “President Trump is a disgrace, an abomination, a conspiracy theorist, racist, sexist, a right-wing misogynist.”
In the same interview, she also said that she would not be supporting him in 2020.