Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard -- a 2020 presidential candidate -- continues to elicit mixed reactions from fellow politicians following her decision last week not to take a side during the House’s formal impeachment vote against President Donald Trump, instead voting “present.”
The disapproval list now includes former Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Gabbard announced in October that she would not be seeking reelection, but Abercrombie on Monday called for Gabbard's more immediate resignation from Congress.
“When she just showed up, and then voted ‘present,’ I thought, ‘wait a minute, you know, that's, that's, that's a step too far.’" He said Gabbard should resign "the sooner the better" to allow for more time for a special election to be held.
Abercrombie also serves as co-chair of Hawaii State Sen. Kai Kahele's campaign to replace Gabbard in Congress.
“The people of the second district are being adversely affected by her presidential campaign,” Abercrombie said of Gabbard. “And so if she offers the opportunity then for a special election, I think then she's showing respect for the people of the second district and respect for the people of Hawaii. "
He told reporters he isn’t supporting Gabbard’s White House bid and if she sought his advice he would have advocated that she stay in the House of Representatives.
T. Ilihia Gionson, a communications director for Gabbard’s Hawaii office, responded to the former governor’s comments. He noted that the congresswoman had secured several legislative victories this year for the state, including: Red Hill aquifer protection, help for veterans affected by toxic burn pits as well as defense contracting for Native Hawaiian companies.
“Hawaiʻi is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s home and her heart,” Gionson said in a statement, adding “her pursuit of the highest office in the land has not compromised her and her team’s commitment to serving the people of Hawaiʻi in her fourth term in Congress.”
Some voters, though, were impressed by Gabbard’s impeachment vote.
At a holiday dinner event hosted by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Keene, New Hampshire, attendees struck up a conversation over a sticker on one guest’s coat.
Cynthia Johnson, a Vermont voter, told ABC News that she supported Gabbard, and even planned on voting for her for president.
“I'm fully confident that Bernie's gonna win Vermont, in a landslide in the primary,” she said. “So my vote for Tulsi isn't going to cost his campaign anything.”
Johnson, who didn’t vote in the 2016 primary or general election, said she’s drawn to the congresswoman on her message of ending regime change wars and “the fact that … she'll stand up and take an unpopular opinion and stick to it, she doesn't waffle on issues. I just think that she's the candidate that stands with integrity, and I respect that.”
She said the congresswoman’s “present” vote made her like Gabbard even more.
“I loved it. I was so proud of her for doing that when it was a no win situation,” Johnson told ABC News. “I think the Democrats made a poor case on foolish charges that were inconsequential to the American people.”
She added, “I think, you know, when neither side is right. Not taking a side is the way to go.”