2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard rejected claims from former White House adviser Steve Bannon that she was once considered for a position within the Trump administration in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.
“First of all, I was not there to interview for a job; I was there to discuss my foreign policy views”, Gabbard said.
Gabbard pledged to change the nature of the Democratic Party and completely transform how the party operates if she were to be elected president.
“What I plan to do as the Democratic nominee and as president is to rebuild a new Democratic Party”, she said.
“One that truly represents the interest of the people of this country that is fighting for them, fighting for their well-being, fighting for the well-being of our country and protecting our national resources on this planet.”
Gabbard hit out against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for “implementing their own pre-primary election before voters get a chance to vote" at the expense of the electorate.
Despite challenging the Democratic hierarchy, Gabbard refuted suggestions by failed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in October that she was considering running on a third-party party ticket if her race for the Democratic nomination fails.
“I will not run as a third-party candidate”, Gabbard said.
She hit back against Clinton, saying that Clinton's "proxies and minions have been trying to smear my character, reputation and undermine my campaign".
Gabbard, who served in the US Army and Iraq following the 9/11 attacks, called the accusations “completely baseless” and “offensive” given her military service.
“I will never be able to undo what they have done in trying to cast suspicion amongst the American people about where my loyalties actually lie”, she said.
When asked if she knows why the smear campaign was launched, she told Fox News “They know they cannot control me, and that worries them very much”.
Gabbard also made it clear that she is working in opposition to the president and voted alongside almost every other House Democrat in support of the Trump impeachment process on Thursday.
Steve Bannon, who preceded Gabbard in an interview with Fox on Sunday, said she was "the type of person as a nation we want serving in the Cabinet”, due to their shared views on foreign policy.
Clinton did not identify anyone by name but claimed that a Democratic candidate was being groomed by the Republicans, and was “the favourite of the Russians”.
When she was asked if she was making a reference to Gabbard, Clinton replied “If the nesting doll fits..."
Gabbard is one of an extensive line-up of Democrats running for the presidential nomination, making her stand-out appeal as a former soldier in opposition to regime-change wars waged by the US.
The Clinton campaign made strong allegations, colloquially known as "russiagate", against then-Republican candidate Trump during the election, claiming that Russia was vying to bring about a Trump presidency.