Democratic Hawaii Rep. Gabbard running for president in 2020

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In an announcement on December 31, 2018, US Senator Elizabeth Warren stated that she has formed an exploratory committee for a presidential run.

Ms Gabbard is joining what is expected to be a crowded Democratic field.

"But the main reason I'm running has to do with an issue that is central to the rest - war and peace".

"I'm thinking through how I can best be of service and I'll make my decision based on that", she said. "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 said, citing health care access and climate change among them.

Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu ever elected to USA congress, is running for the White House in 2020, and could end up vying with Kamala Harris, who is likely to run also, for the affection, support and, most importantly, the financial backing of the country's richest ethnic community, Indian Americans.

Rania Batrice, a former deputy campaign manager for Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign, will be Gabbard's campaign manager, CNN said. She stepped down in 2004 to fight in the Iraq War.

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Soon after Trump was elected in 2016, Gabbard met him amid rumours that she may be offered a job in his administration. Though Gabbard has been aligned with Trump over some aspects of Middle East policy ― including whether the US should provide support for Syrian militias fighting Assad ― she recently called Trump "Saudi Arabia's bitch" for his failure to react to the Saudi killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Asked previous year whether she would still consider running if Senator Sanders ran, Ms Gabbard said Senator Sanders is a friend and she did not know what his plans were. She's opposed to military intervention, and drew criticism in 2017 for meeting during a secret trip with Syrian President Bashar Assad whose oppressive regime has allegedly used chemical weapons on its own people.

She accused the party leadership of being partial to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and against Sanders and resigned as a vice president of the party.

Gabbard, who converted to Hinduism early in her life, is highly popular among Indian-Americans. She said "whoever is found responsible" must be held accountable and talked about "if" Assad is indeed guilty.

Indeed, Gabbard has rankled some in her party for her unorthodox moves.

Her father Mike Gabbard, a Hawaii State Senator, told the local Hawaii News Now: "I didn't know she had made a final decision".