WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii said in remarks aired by CNN on Friday that she will run for president in 2020, becoming the latest member of her party to pursue a challenge to Republican President Donald Trump.
"I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," Gabbard, a liberal 37-year-old Iraq War veteran as well as the first Hindu and first Samoan-American elected to the U.S. Congress, told CNN.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Dec. 31 announced she had formed an exploratory committee for a White House run in what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary field before the November 2020 presidential election.
Gabbard said "the issue of war and peace" would be the main focus of her campaign.
Her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Democratic presidential field could eventually include Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden. Julian Castro, former President Barack Obama's housing secretary, also formed an exploratory committee in December.
In the race to pick a candidate to run against Trump, Democrats will grapple with the tension between the party's establishment and liberal wings that flared during the 2016 state-by-state nominating contests between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who ran under the Democratic banner.
Gabbard made headlines in 2016 by quitting a leadership post at the Democratic National Committee over the party's decision to limit the number of debates between Clinton and Sanders, with analysts believing fewer debates benefited Clinton. Clinton ultimately won the Democratic nomination but lost to Trump.
The congresswoman then endorsed Sanders for president, becoming one of the few members of Congress to do so. Gabbard remains popular with some liberals but will have serious competition with other candidates on the left flank of the party.
Gabbard has also drawn criticism for secretly meeting with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, whose removal from power she opposes, during a 2017 trip to the war-ravaged country.
Iowa holds the first presidential nominating contest in 13 months. Warren informally kicked off the 2020 Democratic presidential nominating fight on visit last weekend to Iowa, condemning the corrupting influence of money on politics and lamenting lost economic opportunities for working families.
(Reporting by James Oliphant and Makini Brice; Editing by Eric Beech and Will Dunham)
Up to 1,000 U.S. troops could remain in Syria — more than twice as many as originally announced, according to the Wall Street Journal.
President Donald Trump initially announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but U.S. officials said in February that several hundred troops are expected to remain in Syria to create a "safe zone" along the border with Turkey and to man the al-Tanf garrison, which is located along a supply rote that would allow Iran to supply its proxies in Syria.
On Sunday, Dion Nissenbaum and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported that the U.S. military is considering leaving as many as 1,000 troops in Syria to prevent Turkey from attacking the United States' Kurdish allies. So far, the United States and Turkey have failed to agree on how to secure the proposed safe zone.
U.S. Army Sgt. James R. Moore of Portland, Ore., a logitstics NCO with the 642nd Regional Support Group, shoots at the Fort Pickett rifle range as part of the Mortuary Affairs Exercise Aug. 15, 2018. (U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Gary A. Witte, 642nd Regional Support Group)
White supremacists take part in a march the night before the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, VA. (Associated Press photo)
Seven U.S. service members have reportedly been identified as members of Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group founded by a Marine veteran and tied to the 2017 Charlottesville rally, according to leaked online chat logs examined by HuffPost.
Smoke rises from the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria March 17, 2019 (Reuters)
BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) - Falling bombs raised smoke over Islamic State's last enclave in east Syria on Sunday, obscuring the huddle of vehicles and makeshift shelters to which the group's self-declared "caliphate" has been reduced.