After former Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard announced she is leaving the Democratic Party, Pennsylvania Democratic state lawmaker Malcolm Kenyatta asked a short and sweet question that summed up what everyone already had on their minds.
Writing on Twitter after Gabbard—once a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 United States presidential election—announced she would be leaving the party and register as an independent voter, Kenyatta asked:
"Wait, Tulsi Gabbard was a Democrat?"
You can see his tweet below.
Kenyatta published his tweet shortly after Gabbard posted a video in which she officially announced her departure from the party.
In it, she regurgitated a slew of Republican talking points, accusing the party of being "under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness" who she said radicalize issues, inflame racial hostilities and "work to undermine our God-given freedoms."
As if running through a GOP checklist, Gabbard went on to say Democrats are "hostile to people of faith and spirituality," attack the police, back criminals, support open borders, use the national security apparatus to smear political opponents and bring the United States "ever closer to nuclear war."
Gabbard suggested that the Democratic Party no longer aligns with her belief that the government should be "of, by, and for the people" because it supports the interests of "the powerful elite."
She went on to call on others to leave with her if they "can no longer stomach the direction that so-called woke Democratic Party ideologues are taking our country."
Gabbard's departure has been a long time coming.
During her time in Congress, Gabbard made frequent appearances on Fox News to criticize the administration of former Democratic President Barack Obama, behavior that prompted many to condemn her for failing to support Democrats contending with increasing political polarization and congressional stalemate.
She spent much of the last decade alleging that the "real enemy" the United States faces is "radical Islam." Her decision to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and her skepticism of claims that he had used chemical weapons prompted many within the Democratic Party to lose faith in her as a reliable team member, particularly after Assad's use of chemical weapons had already been established.
Kenyatta even mentioned Gabbard's meeting with Assad in a follow-up tweet in which he shared an old Guardian article about how she'd done so without consulting with Democratic leadership.
Since ending her presidential campaign, Gabbard has taken considerably more conservative positions on issues such as abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, publicly backing Florida's controversial "Don't Say Gay" law.
She uses her podcast and regular Fox News appearances to espouse these views and has gained support among Republicans for saying that investigations into the January 6 insurrection undermine civil liberties.
Given these facts, it was no wonder that many agreed with Kenyatta's observation.
Gabbard's announcement comes just weeks before the midterm elections, which will largely determine whether Americans will reject or embrace the country's rightward shift, particularly after the Supreme Court overturned established precedent on reproductive rights.
In her taped statement, Gabbard explicitly called out the Biden administration following the arrest and indictment of several pro-life activists who had allegedly blocked access to an abortion clinic. She also criticized statements made by Vice President Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren about "the illegitimacy of the Supreme Court," tossing another bone to Republicans.