HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard voted “present” Wednesday in the impeachment vote of the president, the only member of the U.S. House to do so.
Gabbard, D-Hawaii, had previously raised concerns about the impeachment proceedings, and there was speculation the presidential candidate might actually miss the impeachment vote.
But on Wednesday, she was the lone “present” vote on the impeachment resolution.
In the historic vote, a majority of the House voted to impeach the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Gabbard’s “present” vote raised eyebrows, even for a representative who has publicly criticized members of her own party ― and the Democratic Party itself.
By voting present, Gabbard essentially didn’t take a side, neither opposing or supporting impeachment.
State Sen. Kai Kahele, who launched his run for Gabbard’s seat before she announced she wouldn’t seek re-election, called Gabbard’s vote “unacceptable.”
“You don’t get a participation trophy for voting ‘present’ on one of the most crucial votes taken this Congress,” Kahele said, in a post on Twitter. “The 2nd District has been left #voiceless once again.”
In a statement released after the vote, Gabbard said she believes President Donald Trump is guilty of wrongdoing but has concerns about the partisan nature of the impeachment proceedings.
“Today, I come before you to make a stand for the center, to appeal to all of you to bridge our differences and stand up for the American people,” she said, in the statement.
“My vote today is a vote for much needed reconciliation and hope that together we can heal our country. Let’s work side-by-side, seeking common ground, to usher in a bright future for the American people, our country, and our nation.”
Political experts say Gabbard’s vote is consistent with her independent nature.
“Tulsi Gabbard, as she often is, is unpredictable and she’s one of the few Democrats who are undecided. She’s not sure what President Trump did rises to the level of impeachment," said HNN political analyst Colin Moore.
Meanwhile, Hawaii’s other representative in the U.S. House ― Congressman Ed Case ― voted for impeachment.
“I do believe the president did abuse his power. I believe the president did obstruct Congress and I believe impeachment is the appropriate constitutional remedy," said Case, D-Hawaii.
Case said he was swayed after recently reading the House’s articles of impeachment, which he says show the president abused his power and obstructed Congress.
“At the end of the day, I believe the actions of this president undermine the Constitution and if we don’t defend our Constitution we have effectively weakened our constitution," Case said.
This story will be updated.