A month after leaving Democratic party, calling it an ‘elitist cabal of warmongers’, former Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has joined Fox News as a paid contributor.
A Fox News representative confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Gabbard signed a deal starting this week, and will start appearing on its programmes next week.
Gabbard, who served in the House from 2013 to the end of 2020, ran an unsuccessful White House campaign in the 2020 Democratic primary.
The first Hindu American in Congress, Gabbard has been critical of the Biden administration over its handling of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
She officially left the party last month, posting a video on Twitter claiming it is “now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness”.
During the November 2022 mid-terms, she endorsed and campaigned for Republican politicians, including 2020 election-defying gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Senate candidate Blake Masters.
Gabbard has been frequently seen as a guest on the conservative-leaning cable channel after severing ranks with the Democratic party.
On Monday, she guest-hosted Tucker Carlson Tonight, the highest-rated primetime show on Fox News.
During her time in Congress, she frequently appeared on Fox News to criticize the Barack Obama administration for refusing to say that the real enemy of the United States is radical Islam or Islamic extremism.
During her presidential campaign, she highlighted an opposition to military interventionism, although she has called herself a “hawk” on terrorism. Her decision to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and her skepticism of claims that he had used chemical weapons gave rise to public disagreement from mainstream Democrats.
In March 2020, Gabbard ended her presidential candidacy to endorse Joe Biden, and was succeeded by Kai Kahele in the House of Representatives on January 3, 2021. Gabbard has since taken conservative positions on issues such as abortion and transgender rights.
Gabbard endorsed Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act and was a featured speaker at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). She continued her frequent presence on Fox News, including serving as a fill-in host for Tucker Carlson Tonight and eventually becoming a paid contributor to the network.
In October 2022, Gabbard announced that she had left the Democratic Party altogether, citing their positions on foreign policy and social issues as the primary reasons for her departure, and is currently unaffiliated with any party. She followed her announcement by endorsing and campaigning for numerous Republican candidates in that year’s midterm elections.
A military veteran, who served in the Iraq war between 2004 and 2005 for the Hawaii Army National Guard before she entered Congress, Gabbard said Russia had “legitimate security concerns” regarding Ukraine becoming a member of NATO.
Gabbard was born on April 12, 1981, in Leloaloa, Maʻopūtasi County, on American Samoa’s main island of Tutuila. She was the fourth of five children born to Carol (née Porter) Gabbard and her husband, Mike Gabbard. In 1983, when Gabbard was two years old, her family moved to Hawaii, where her family had lived in the late 1970s.
Gabbard has both European and Samoan ancestry, and was raised in a multicultural household. Her mother was born in Indiana and grew up in Michigan. Her father was born in American Samoa and lived in Hawaii and Florida as a child; he is of Samoan and European ancestry.
Gabbard was raised in part according to the teachings of the Science of Identity Foundation (SIF) religious community and its spiritual leader, Chris Butler, and was sheltered from outside influences. She has said Butler’s work still guides her. In 2015, Gabbard called Butler her guru dev (roughly, “spiritual teacher”).
Gabbard’s husband and ex-husband have also been members of the community. Gabbard has been reluctant to speak publicly about the SIF. Gabbard was homeschooled through high school, except for two years at an all-girls SIF boarding school in the Philippines.
Her first name, Tulasi in Sanskrit, is the word for holy basil, which Hindus regard as an earthly manifestation of the goddess Tulasi. Her siblings also have Sanskrit-origin names.
Gabbard embraced the Hindu faith as a teenager.