Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard on Friday threw her weight behind House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Trump impeachment inquiry, reversing her opposition after the outcry this week over the whistleblower report on President Trump's conversation with the president of Ukraine.
“Up to this point, I have been opposed to pursuing impeachment because it will further divide our already badly divided country," the Hawaii congresswoman said in a press release.
Gabbard said she changed her mind this week.
“However, after looking carefully at the transcript of the conversation with Ukraine’s President, the whistleblower complaint, the Inspector General memo, and President Trump’s comments about the issue, unfortunately, I believe that if we do not proceed with the inquiry, it will set a very dangerous precedent," she said. "Future presidents, as well as anyone in positions of power in the government, will conclude that they can abuse their position for personal gain, without fear of accountability or consequences."
Pelosi, D-Calif., announced an official impeachment inquiry on Tuesday. Gabbard's Friday statement aligned her with hundreds of other House Democrats in calling for impeachment but on the day of Pelosi's announcement, she told Fox News that it would be too divisive for the country.
"I believe that impeachment at this juncture would be terribly divisive for the country at a time when we are already extremely divided. The hyperpartisanship is one of the main things driving our country apart," she said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends."
She continued opposing impeachment on Wednesday after Trump released a rough transcript of his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Although the transcript showed no explicit quid pro quo, House Democrats accused Trump of leveraging foreign aid as pressure for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
Gabbard responded by saying: "I think most people reading through that transcript are not going to find that extremely compelling cause to throw out a president that won an election in 2016."
Her Friday reversal came after Thursday testimony from acting Director of National Intelligence Joeseph Maguire, who defended the administration's decision not to report the whistleblower complaint to the inspector general. And according to Maguire, the report was "hearsay."
It's unclear which of Thursday's revelations prompted Gabbard's decision but she warned that the United States could become a "banana republic" without impeachment. “If we allow the president to abuse his or her power, then our society will rot from top to bottom. We will turn into a banana republic, where people in positions of power – from the president all the way down to the traffic cop – will feel it's OK to abuse their power with no consequences," she said.
She added that Pelosi's inquiry must be "swift, thorough, and narrowly-focused. It cannot be turned into a long, protracted partisan circus that will further divide our country and undermine our democracy.”
Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.