Democratic Hawaii Rep. Gabbard running for president in 2020

Tulsi Gabbard first Hindu and American Samoan member of Congress says she'll run for president in 2020

Gabbard will become the first Hindu to run for the White House when she announces formally next week.

Former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro plans to announce his run for the presidency on Saturday.

"I have made a decision to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week", Gabbard told CNN's Van Jones during an interview scheduled to air at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Gabbard said "the issue of war and peace" would be the main focus of her campaign.

"There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision". Gabbard said she was concerned about a number of challenges facing the American people that she wants to help solve, including health care access, criminal justice reform and climate change. Gabbard moved to Hawaii when she was two and embraced Hinduism as a teenager and is well-versed in the scriptures, PTI reported.

Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, now serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

She's also been critical of her own party, calling out Hillary Clinton's track record of supporting foreign wars during the 2016 presidential primary.

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"I stepped down from the legislature where I served, and headed to a war zone", Gabbard recalled at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Asked a year ago whether she would still consider running if Sanders ran, Gabbard said Sanders is a friend and she didn't know what his plans were. "When we stand together, united by our love for each other and for our country, there is no challenge we can not overcome", she wrote in an email sent to her supporters.

The congresswoman then endorsed Sanders for president, becoming one of the few members of Congress to do so. She questioned whether he was responsible for a chemical attack on civilians that killed dozens and led the U.S.to attack a Syrian air base.

But this year she harshly criticised Trump for not taking a strong stand against Saudi Arabia for the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Ms Gabbard's run would not be without controversy.

Gabbard's spat with Hirono is just the latest incidence of her alienation from establishment Democrats.

Gabbard drew heavy criticism when she met secretly with Assad in Damascus in 2017 during a fact-finding mission that also took her to the decimated city of Aleppo. She said "whoever is found responsible" must be held accountable and talked about "if" Assad is indeed guilty. Kamala Harris. Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney has already announced a campaign.

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