Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Tulsi Gabbard has said that she was disinvited from Tuesday’s presidential debate after she called for more debates. The Congresswoman from Hawaii said that her Chief of Staff received a message from DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Chief of Staff that said the Hawaii Representative should prioritize the candidates, not herself or the debates.
Both Gabbard and her fellow Vice Chair, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, have called for additional debates. Rybak, for his part, had no plans to attend Tuesday’s debate. They joined presidential candidates Governor Martin O’Malley (MD) and Senator Bernie Sanders who have both advocated for extra debates, calling the limit undemocratic. Representative Schultz has stood firm on the number of debates and said, “We’re going to have six debates. Period.”
“All that was asked of Ms. Gabbard’s staff was to prioritize our candidates and this important opportunity they have to introduce themselves to the American people,” the DNC’s press secretary Holly Shulman said Monday. “The focus of the debate in Nevada as well as the other debates and forums in the coming weeks should be on the candidates who will take the stage, and their vision to move America forward.”
Gabbard has criticized the party for limiting the amount of dialogue and for reprimanding her for speaking openly. “When I signed up to be vice chair of the DNC, no one told me I would be relinquishing my freedom of speech and checking it at the door,” she told the New York Times.
On CNN’s New Day, Jeff Weaver, the Sanders campaign manager, said that he could provide a ticket for Rep. Gabbard, given she still wants to go. “If she needs a ticket, have her give me a call,” he told the morning program. Gabbard appeared later on CNN’s Situation Room and anchor Wolf Blitzer asked her about Weaver’s offer. After thanking him, Gabbard politely declined the ticket.