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Robert F Kennedy Jr had asked Tulsi Gabbard to be his running mate, she declined

Former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who left the Democratic Party in 2022, has revealed that she declined an offer to be Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s running mate in his independent presidential bid, as she told ABC News.

FILE – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at an event where he announced his run for president on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, in Boston. (AP)

“I met with Kennedy several times, and we have become good friends,” Gabbard said in a statement. “He asked if I would be his running mate. After careful consideration, I respectfully declined.”

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Gabbard did not elaborate on her reasons for turning down the offer. This development had not been previously reported.

Kennedy had considered various individuals for the role, including former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and TV host Mike Rowe. He announced at a rally in Oakland, California, last week that he had selected Silicon Valley lawyer Nicole Shanahan due to her younger age and work in health and artificial intelligence.

Kennedy and his campaign have not yet responded to Gabbard’s statement. However, a person close to him told ABC News, “There were definitely meetings, but it didn’t work out.” This person added, “We talked to a bunch of people. Tulsi’s a rock star no matter what.”

Some allies of former President Donald Trump have also suggested Gabbard as a potential vice-presidential pick.

Gabbard ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2019 before leaving the party three years later. She chronicles her departure in a book titled “For Love of Country: Leave the Democrat Party Behind,” set to be released this month.

Gabbard criticized the Democratic Party upon announcing her departure, blaming “warmongers” in the party “who are driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue.” She had also clashed with the party’s mainstream on issues such as Florida’s controversial ban on LGBTQ+ topics in public school classrooms, which she supported.

During her 2019 White House run, Gabbard made history by becoming the first woman of color since 1972 to secure a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Gabbard, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, was deployed twice to Iraq and Kuwait. She took a two-week absence from the presidential campaign trail in 2020 to report for active duty in Indonesia with the Hawaiian Army National Guard.

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