Transcribe your podcast

This is JoCo podcast number two, 72 with Echo, Charles and me, JoCo Willink, good evening. Good evening.


So. When I worked with SEAL leaders and and then on top of that, interacted with leaders from the Army and from the Marine Corps.


Sometimes things went great. And. Sometimes they didn't, and if there was a problem between leaders. Between leaders, between people, between troops, 99 percent of the time when I would pull the thread on that problem at the end of that thread would be.


Igoe. You'd find it all the time, I'd find it all the time, and when I retired from the Navy and I started working with leadership in civilian companies, no shock.


I found the same thing when when leaders can't get along, when when they can't find a solution, when they can't even move forward despite having a common goal.


When I'm working with companies and I pull the thread on that problem, I find the same thing. I find ego and egotistical leaders. Scream and they yell and they get emotional and they would rather lose they would rather lose that admit that they're wrong.


They would actually rather die in some cases than admit that they're wrong, and if you think that that's an exaggeration. History is full of leaders, military leaders that died clinging to their plan.


Even in the face of their own death. Or worse, the deaths of their troops. All because there you go. Now, look, of course, it's a dichotomy, we know that not all ego is bad. You need ego to push you and drive you and make you want to win, and that's great. But over inflated ego is the root of a vast majority of problems that people. And leaders face. And as I look at the divisiveness in America right now.


The people that are screaming from the extreme ends of the political spectrum, when I listen to what they're saying and why they're saying and I try and figure out where this is coming from, when I pull the thread on all that screaming and all that anger, yes, once again, I find Igoe.


Because if you if you think you're right about everything, if you think that you're right about everything, that that means everybody else is wrong. And if you think that you know everything, then that means no one else can know anything. And if your ego is so big and you think you're so smart, why would you even have to listen to anybody else?


Because you already have it figured out, why not just scream at them to shut up? And you got to watch out, especially when if if if someone is saying something that actually makes some kind of sense and it hurt your ego, then just scream louder.


And when I look around and I see people that are screaming and not listening, that's what I see.


I see ego. And sometimes it's driven by insecurity, insecurity that they think there might be wrong, and so then again, what do they do? They just scream louder. Don't let anyone else talk. Shut them up. That's what the ego does. That being said, there are. People out there today, many of whom are humble people that do listen, people that can have an interactive conversational exchange with someone else that might have opposing viewpoints, and they're confident enough in themselves to actually listen and discuss and compromise and change their minds and learn and grow and understand and empathise.


And those types of people. Well, they make good neighbors. They make good soldiers, they make good friends, they make good human beings, and they make good leaders. And I'm lucky enough to have one of those people here with us tonight, a soldier. A martial artist. A surfer. A former congresswoman, a Hawaiian. And an American. You might have figured it out, Tulsi Gabbard, Tulsi, thanks for joining us. Aloha.


The last time we were together was on Joe Rogan's podcast.


Yes, that was fun.


When was that? I think that was sometime in twenty nineteen.


Were you running yet? Yeah, I was. Yeah, I was crazy. Yeah.


And that's been a wild ride. Been cool. Well it's been cool for me to watch. I know it's not always been cool.


I'm thinking like I don't know if cool is the word I would use.


It's always cool for me to look at something that's like trying to make something happen and coming up against all kinds of obstacles and still striving forward and pushing forward. So from that perspective, that's cool.


So let's let's kind of like I always like to start from the beginning. It's kind of what I like to do. So I have a better context and understanding of where someone ends up because we know more about where they came from. Yeah. So let's talk about where you came from.


How did you end up here today? It started off where American Samoa.


American Samoa is where I was born. I am.


Did you just suddenly correct my pronunciation of Samoa? Yeah, that's correct. It's you got it. You got elongate the a little Samoa. It's Samoa.


Yeah, it's. I don't. It's just a fact, right? I feel very comfortable speaking. I mean, obviously I speak all the time, but words that I don't know how to say, I just do my best and move on.


You know, and I read a couple of books and I've got French words and German names and what I just run into total things that I just don't know how to say them. And so what I do is I just do my best and move on. And I think I get a certain level of forgiveness from people completely. I do get tightened up from time to time if I really make something awful.


But yeah, I guess you have to forgive me a little bit because I just kind of say what I what it looks like to me medically and move on, you know, no judgment whatsoever.


I, however, would get in trouble if I had not.


Yeah. Renouncing my homeland properly.


If you say someone though, like someone or someone that's more like forgiveable total, like it's not like the proper way.


That's like you use the proper way. Yeah.


But if you don't, it's kind of like OK, it's way more forgivable with someone. Yeah.


Yeah, yeah. OK, so it's not a major violation at all. It's actually not a violation right now really.


It's not like it's literally it's only people from Samoa who say yes, it's pretty.


Is it insulting that I would say Samawa. Yeah, that's a little bit. OK, so we're good, you know. Yeah. You're good either way.


All right. Well, when I went to Guam, there was people from Samoa there and we hung out most good people. Nice. All right. So how do you know? Everywhere.


So my mom was born in Indiana. Grew up in Michigan. Um, uh, dad born in, uh, born in Samoa. Um, my grandfather was in the Air Force, and so he was born there, but he spent the first years of his life in Hawaii. My grandfather was stationed at Hickam. And then, um, I moved around a few other places, but ended up growing up in the panhandle of Florida.


So. So wait, so your grandfather was in the Air Force? Yeah, both both of my grandfathers on my mom's side and my dad's side served served in the military. I must have been around World War Two. It was. Yeah. Um, so my mom's dad served in believe he served in Europe. I don't know exactly where and then but but for a shorter stint that we didn't spend a career in the military. But my dad's dad did spend his career in the military and at different times served.


I think he was in the army for a little while then. He was in the Army Air Corps and he ended up in the Air Force. And, um, so they both had completely different upbringings. You know, my mom grew up in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, which was during that time a very kind of well-to-do area in her school. There were no there were no non-white people. And so, you know, she grew up she's a cheerleader.


She was the she kind of had the all-American upbringing. So she's a white person, too.


She is a white person, as we say, in which which, you know, little digression here. People say Whouley is a derogatory word. It all depends on how you use it. Yeah, it can go. It can go either way. That's sort of like and it can be it can be referred to as an attitude like, I don't care what your skin color is, it can be used derogatory or it can just be like, OK, you happen to be Caucasian and Whouley, but yeah.


So yes, my mom is highly, um, based on her skin color and uh and yeah, my dad Polynesian grew up, I grew up essentially in the south and um it was so stark, their upbringings and to hear both of them tell stories about it because, you know, my dad's going to elementary school and he he's told me how like the teacher asked and all the kids, OK, where are you from? And he raised his hand.


He's like, I'm from Sommore. And she said, what? Somalia from Africa. He's like, No, no, no.


Samoyeds, it's you know, and that that was it. Like all the kids start making fun of him. He's the only kid with brown skin skin in the class and, you know, go out, go out in town and and get called, get called the N-word, get scolded out of, you know, the men's bathroom until you got to go use the colored bathroom. You know, there's no water fountain. You got to go use the hose in the back because the water fountain is for whites only.


And so as he was so confused coming from Samoa and then Hawaii, and he's like, I mean, I'm not I'm not black.


I'm like, he was it was it was at a young age, this kind of. Being confronted with racism, obviously, but also just confusion on his part and that that kind of was the made a huge and a huge impact in his in his formative years in life. And, um, so fast forward, he's going to college in California. Mom's going to University of Michigan. They both had summer jobs at Yosemite and which is how they met.


And famously that was, you know, what year that was.


That would have been in the 60s. Mm hmm.


And maybe they noticed one of our all of our frequent podcast guests, John Striker Meyer, who ended up being a Green Beret guy in Vietnam before he went in the army. He went out to Yosemite and worked there in the summer. Is he the guy who has come with some of the Vietnamese? Yes. Yeah. OK, that's cool. That's cool. Those are amazing. Oh, my God. I love those hearing from those guys out of this world.


So they're working.


So they they're they're working at a cafe in Yosemite.


My dad's checking mom out and asked her out and she's like, OK, like, let's go. She's like, do you play tennis?


He's like, yeah, he didn't play tennis at all.


She's like, OK, cool, let's go play as their first date. So they went out in the tennis court. She beat him six love, six love. For the non tennis players that means zero.


He got zero points. But I think the key word was actually love. I can see where this is going, love and what became a very healthy competition. He then later on went and became a actual tennis pro. And they've been married now almost, I think fifty three years and still played tennis almost every day together. It's awesome.


Um, but that was how, that was how Mike and Carol gathered began. And uh, the first I think one of the, the first time, um, he went to visit my mom in Michigan after they were they were going out for a little while.


And my mom, I think actually I think they were going out for a little while and my mom had decided like she wanted to marry this guy and told my grandma and my dad happened to be in the garage, about to walk in the door and started overhear this conversation inside the house and heard my grandmother's response to my mom saying, Carol, but he's not even white, how can you marry him?


And Dad was little taken aback and turned around and went back and got in the car and went and took a little bit of time.


But it was just a reflection of the complete stark differences and where they were from and, you know, their views of of the world. And obviously, they fell in love with my dad. And it was, yeah. A bringing together of two different people, two different backgrounds. And ultimately, you know, my dad took her away from the mainland and to to Samoa where they both went. And as teachers, they both got jobs as teachers there.


My mom was doing she was a speech therapist. So helping kids who had different kind of speech issues. And Dad became, I think, the assistant dean of the community college there, who was an English major.


And so they the three there's five kids in our family and the three little kids were all born there. And then we moved to Hawaii when I was two years old. So he's been home for me ever since.


You get to Hawaii. And I mean, your what's what's it like when you get there? What like what are your memories of growing up in Hawaii? What were your formative memories?


That was one of my earliest memories, though. So I'm four or five. So my little sister was is the baby of the family. And she was she was born in Hawaii.


And, um, she basically she came a little sooner than expected.


And so my dad delivered her at home quickly and I watched that happen.


That was that was a big, strong dose of reality. And, you know, I'm three years old at the time.


Can you remember? I have I vaguely remember pretty much. I don't remember. I like I can't visualize it, but I do remember being somewhat traumatized by it. Yeah, well, and the story goes that, like my babysitter who was there also that that after witnessing that, I told her, like, I never, ever want to do that.


But yeah.


So, uh, we moved around. LA grew up on the island of Oahu.


What was your parents doing for work there? They were teachers.


Um, they were teachers there. Um, they had started kind of a small a small private school that we went to and then, um, and then they ended up at the school, had to close down for for one reason or another.


Um, but then anyway, they ended up teaching us we were home schooled and they ended up teaching us and a bunch of other kids in the neighborhood at home. And then they they're they're entrepreneurs at heart. They've always been even back in Samoa. They were teaching, but they had mikes, ten or mikes sports shop. They had a little sports shop. And so they've always had some kind of side gig happening and always different ideas for new businesses.


And eventually they opened kind of family style deli restaurant, healthy, healthy eating. Um, so they've done a lot of different things in their lives. And it's always been a family, family affairs, everything that's going on.


You did you have involvement? Where you making sandwiches down at the deli.


I'm the one I get to take credit for coming up with the name of the restaurant. It was called the Natural Deli. And I remember us sitting around the family living room and having a brainstorm session. And we were all we are all quite competitive. And the deal was whoever whoever comes up with the name of the restaurant gets one free dinner at the restaurant.


Well, apparently you're competitive, but not a great negotiator completely. I had no idea. I felt very victorious in my my of my win. However, I had no idea that we would pretty much be eating there every day.


And so how long were you in this home school before? It was cool scenario.


I all the way through high school. Really? Yeah. Yep. And it was so there's a five year gap between me and my closest brother. The three boys are about two years apart. And then there's there's a story that my dad loves to tell, which is that after the three boys, my mom was like, that's it, I'm done. Um, she got her tubes tied. She was seriously done and was she wasn't just saying it.


And this isn't some more like way back.


When where the hospital today is still probably about, you know, 20 years behind modern medicine, so, um, so it took my dad a few years, but he finally convinced her to to have more kids. So she went to the hospital in.


She's like, OK, got to undo what I did here. And it worked. And so my sister and I came along and that so there's a five year gap between us and every birthday for me and my sister is like, girls better thank me.


I wouldn't be here without me and your mom, your mom, too.


But what were you thinking of when you were when you're going to high school? What are you thinking of doing with your life?


I didn't have I didn't have a specific profession in mind or career path or anything. I did.


Understand and realize from a really young age, even before high school, that, um. I think I think too big, too big things, no one was that I was happiest when I was when I was doing things for other people. So, you know, we'd go out and we do like beach clean ups. And, you know, growing up in Hoya's I love the ocean. I literally like I learned how to swim at all. I want to beach, you know, in the in the shore there and and just just loved our home and from a really young age, had a really deep appreciation and a kind of a sense of being a protector for our home.


And so, you know, we go out and.


You do beach cleanups and do other things, and I just I just felt happiest when I was doing things for others, when I when I could be of service and understood and realized from a young age that that's what I wanted to do.


And really in a deeper spiritual way, understanding that I was happiest when being of service to God. And what better way to be of service to God than to care for and to serve God's children. And this this planet. So that was something that I knew and a decision I made very early on. But what exactly that would look like? How you know, what path that would take? I had I had no no idea. But I also knew and I distinctly remember.


I was probably 11 or 12 and I felt this reality that I didn't know how much time I would have in this life.


And that death was something that could come at any time. And I knew that I I wanted to and needed to make the most of my life and the time that I had and understanding how precious that was.


Was there anything that triggered that or did you lose a family member? Did you see a fish die on the beach or something like that?


Or was it just something that came from it? I mean, it came it came from, um, there was no kind of external trigger. I think it really came from. Spending time in prayer and meditation, frankly. Because, I mean, this this was something this was something that, you know, God has been the center of, I mean, it's the center of my parents marriage and it's not not in a sectarian way at all. Just understanding a real religion is love for God.


And however you choose to worship at home or a church or a temple or mosque or whatever, however you choose to develop that relationship with God, that that you're happiest. That is where you can find peace and shelter and happiness. And and that that, I think, is the foundation that allowed me at a young age to realize that truth and not in a way that like, oh my God, I'm so scared. I'm going to like I could die tomorrow.


Not not not in a fear filled way at all, but rather just a sense of understanding the truth. Um, that is not only, you know, we have no control over when our time will come.


And therefore, surrender that, surrender to that and surrender to knowing that, hey, my my life is ultimately in God's hands and also knowing that the death of this physical body does not mean the death of me, the soul within the body and.


Therefore, understanding that being free from the fear of death, but understanding also how precious this this life is and wanting to do my best to make sure that I didn't waste.


Wasted. Well, it's amazing you and I can actually even have a conversation as two human beings, because if you're talking about when you were 10 or 11 years old and you're thinking about what you were thinking about when you were 10 or 11 years old, first of all, I didn't I didn't think I could be killed.


And that lasted until my mid thirties, I think.


And then on top of that, like you're talking about serving people and helping people. And I, more than anything, just wanted a machine gun.


Did you?


So you mentioned that that religion was part of your life. What what what religion did you get obvious that must come from home because you were homeschooled. So it was your parents.


What sort of religious view did you all have? What was it?


It was it was the I think the deepest, um, truest meaning of religion itself, which is is that real religion is love, cultivating a loving relationship, personal loving relationship with God. And so the backdrop on that, which is I appreciate so much not having not not understanding kind of what is sectarianism as as a as a kid growing up at all. My mom grew up in a Methodist family. My dad grew up in a Catholic family. Um, my dad went to seminary for a while.


He thought he wanted to become a priest and and both in their own ways ended up coming to a point separately and then later together in wanting more than they were getting from the religious or spiritual practice that they had that they had grown up with.


And like for my dad, he told me how in the seminary when he went, you know, as a kid, he had grown up memorizing a verse, I think, or or a prayer that said something like, in order to be happy, one must know love and serve God.


And so as a kid, he's thinking, OK, no love and serve God in order to love. Like, the first step of that is you have to know God, how can I know God so that I can love and serve him. And he asked one of the priests at the seminary that question like where can I where and how can I know more about God? And the priest kind of patted him on the head and he said, you know, this is a mystery, my my child, this is a mystery.


And so for my dad, it's like, well, I don't like that doesn't compute. How do you how do you love someone if you can't know who they are?


And so he like even as I don't know, he was a teenager, I think at the time.


And that that kind of planted the seed of that hunger for more knowledge and that more, you know, having the depth of that personal relationship with God.


And and ultimately, they both found their ways, again, through different paths to looking at, you know, Eastern spiritual practices and meditation and found scriptures and teachings based in the Vedic scriptures which come out of India and Hinduism, but that are also not sectarian. Like you don't convert into Hinduism, you don't convert out of it. They're timeless, kind of universal spiritual teachings of Bhakti yoga, something called Bhakta Yoga and karma, yoga, back to yoga, being a spiritual practice in seeking to live your life in in loving service to God and karma.


Yoga people are familiar with the word karma, which really means action and karma.


Yoga, meaning doing your best to take actions that have a positive impact to be of service to others. And so those those are the spiritual practices that that I have in my life, um, and that I was introduced to from from a really young age. So it's not it's a.. It's a very long answer to your question, but it's not about like it wasn't like we you know, we went to bed, my mom would say the Lord's Prayer and read stories about, you know, Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita.


And, you know, we'd watch Jesus of Nazareth like sixteen hundred times because that was one of the few movies we were allowed to watch as kids growing up and, um, you know, celebrate celebrate, um, celebrations like John to me, which is which is the celebration of the appearance of Krishna in this world over five thousand years ago and celebrate Christmas since. Up the nativity scene and singing Christmas carols, and there was never, ever any any sense of contradiction or having to choose one or the other, you know, we go to mass with my grandmother when she came to town and go to and there was no contradiction because frankly, when you get right to the heart of it, once you get past all the all of the unfortunate, um, like bureaucracy and divisiveness that that exists too often that create conflict amongst people of different spiritual practices, you just get to the heart of it.


What is it? It is about loving God. And whether you call God Krishna or Allah or Jehovah, God has many names. There is one God. He has many names.


And it doesn't matter. None of that, none of none of the the superficial matters if in your heart you're doing your best to love God and to serve him.


And so that's that, that I'm grateful to have been able to realize myself from a from a relatively young age and knew that that is how I wanted to live my life.


So how did you end up with so you so you have this really kind of heavy spiritual background.


What what where were you grounded to like interacting with other kids who were jerks?


And, you know, it seems like you could be sort of a little bit sheltered in this world. I could be totally wrong. But it seems like if that's the way you're raised and all of a sudden, you know, you go down to the market and someone says, you know, get out of my way. You you know, you little brat or whatever.


How do you what was the what was how did the rest of the how did you interact with the rest of the world when you were in this stage of, you know, we weren't we weren't we weren't sheltered or kind of closed off.


We had a lot of you know, there's a lot of kids in the neighborhood. And, um, we we oftentimes, like my mom was the head cook at the restaurant. And so she'd go in at like 2:00 in the morning to start cooking. We'd go in with my sister and I'd go with my dad a little later on. We do school in the office with him and then spend the rest of the day, like either wiping tables or hanging out with customers and just talking story and and like that.


That was a little bit of a second home for us, you know, did gymnastics, did martial arts, did did all the things. And, you know, there was no there was no, um.


I don't know, separation or anything like that, yeah, know, so it sounds like there was balance and no. Yeah. Or, you know, working at a restaurant, that's what I should have put that together. Because when you're working at a restaurant, you got customers, you got people, people that are happy, people that are sad, people that are mad. People are going to tell you to go screw yourself and that your sandwich sucked.


And people that are like, oh, this is wonderful. You get all those people. Yeah. So you learn a lot about the world. And so that's a good that's a good balance. Very much so. Very much so. So sports you just mentioned, kind of like no big deal. Martial arts, gymnastics, how into you are, how into your world, how into all of that were you. Very much so.


Um, I loved I loved gymnastics until I started to suck because I got really, like, too big.


And I think I started to grow, um, and then I transitioned. I was definitely more of a I tried ballet as a little girl too, and me and ballet didn't jive so well.


So my sister was definitely more of like the the the ballerina type. And I don't know, I just it was not not so much my my flavor. So I definitely gravitated towards martial arts and earliest did taekwondo and started learning taichi and um uh hoing chan and Filipino stick fighting Anees and so got got introduced to a lot of different types of martial arts. And I was that kid that was told like, OK, if you want to like toughen yourself up, you need to go across the street to the park and kick a tree trunk over and over is like, sweet, awesome.


I was the kid that and maybe I can relate. I never liked wearing shoes and would purposely like we'd go hiking up a mountain and I'm like, shoes.


Shoes are for white people. I need to make my feet tough because I don't want Whouley feet. So that was that was kind of me growing up and, um, and maybe, you know, having three older brothers who who had a lot of fun making me and my sister do really stupid.


Uh, torture is a strong word, but, you know, we'll call them challenges. Yeah. Let's call them challenges.


Challenges that really had no good outcome one way or the other for for us.


Other than being tough. Yes. Other than being tough. Have you been to Yosemite?


I have not. I forget which hike it was. But, you know, my son was the same way, like no shoes ever. And we hiked one of the legit hikes at Yosemite just a day hike, but, you know, many thousands of feet of altitude in many miles of walking. And he did it bare feet barefoot.


And people were walking by him and they're just disturbed. They're looking at me like you're using your child. It was literally no factor for him.


I mean, is zero factor because the kid would never wear shoes ever. So that and, you know, the kids got tough feet. He can sprint on just gravel. Yeah. You know, the. Are your feet still tough?


Probably not as tough just because, you know, you have to wear like a suit and heels and all those things for work. That was an adjustment.


Now your feet are weak. I know they have work to do. Where was this, by the way? What part of Oahu did you grow up?


So my sister was born and while he was and that's where we lived then. But most of my childhood was in Kalicki Valley and then later later was like downtown Honolulu. So little, little, diverse, little little slice of each each of the different kind of cultures and communities on Oahu. Yeah.


What year did you graduate then from high school or graduate from home school.


That would have been like ninety seven I think.


OK, so you get done with high school then. What, what are you doing.


Um so I had started an environmental spirituality.


Doesn't pay the rent unfortunately so. Yeah.


To work that I had. So I had started uh co-founded an environmental nonprofit called Healthy Hope Coalition. Um maybe I was 16 or 17 and I was thinking about I figured out like, OK, you know, we're going and doing beach cleanups on the weekends and every weekend we come back and there's more trash on the beach, like how do we start to try to solve the deeper problem?


And came up with an idea of of going and talking to elementary school kids about like, hey, guys, here's why you shouldn't, like, throw your soda can in your chip bag on the beach, because this is our home. This is our playground. And here's what happens when you when you do that. And and I came up with like, um, like a fun little skit called The Adventures of Water Woman. And a friend of mine who's an artist came up with like a workbook and a coloring book for four kids and I thought elementary because, you know, obviously kids are starting to figure things out.


And, um, yeah. So we had this two day program. One day was the skit and the workbook. And then the next day we actually took kids out to to like a field trip in like testing water and understanding like, OK, here's like clean water versus dirty water and why and how it gets contaminated, but in a very simple, practical way that they could really relate to in their lives. And so I was the original water woman had like the blue board shorts and the cape with the big water drop on the back.


And it was so much fun because they existed there.


There may even be a video somewhere, I don't know. But so it was water woman and her nemesis was Oily Al. And the skit was really a day in the life of oily al. And, you know, he'd be out there like, you know, throwing his trash out on the street or changing the oil in his car and then dumping the dirty oil down a storm drain, you know, dumping a bunch of pesticides in his garden.


And every step of the way, you know, water woman comes in just in the nick of time and saves the day and tells oily al, like, if you dump your dirty car oil down the storm drain, it's going to kill all the fish and the water.


And, you know, when telling the kids when you go surfing, the water is going to be really gross.


And it was just the coolest thing to, like, see all these kids sitting cross-legged on the ground like, you know, first, second third graders and seeing kind of like the light bulb go off in their eyes because these were examples that they could understand and relate to. And that was my hope in doing this, was that, you know, it would at least plant a seed for them to understand and appreciate. There are consequences to your actions.


And we care very much about our home. And so stop and think for a minute before you do something.


Or if you see uncle or auntie like ants, you don't throw your trash out the car window and and be able to start to make more of a, you know, behavioral kind of change and impact. Um. To protect our home. Did you get these now, was your dad your dad was in politics at some level in Hawaii, wasn't he? He he and I might be the first person our family ran, actually ran for office as my mom.


She ran for Board of Education. Um, I think it was. And it was in thousand.


OK, so so the water woman that was re predated that.


Yeah, that's just. But that's what inspired me eventually. Like it got to a point where and and how the Hawaii coalition still exists today. There are other water have have kind of come after me.


Um but she's still out there.


But it got to a point where I so I started going to community college and um with the aim of working the TV and film industry, Leeward Community College and starting the TV and film production course out there, and then was going to transfer to a mainland school to be able to continue continue that kind of education. Um, but a couple of things happen. My financial aid package fell through and I couldn't afford it to come to the mainland. And so and then the other thing was just there.


There was an open seat in the state legislature where I lived.


And I, I, I, you know, I started to think about, OK, um, I have an opportunity here to stand on the outside. And there were other things, you know, we they wanted to build a huge landfill over one of our biggest water aquifers in Hawaii. All of our our water comes from groundwater. So, you know, I and a whole bunch of other people, we went out and got petitions and we organized and ultimately, thankfully, were able to get that that project cancelled.


But it it got as far as it did because of a politician who is kind of in the pocket of the landfill company. And so I started to think, you know, I can I can stand on the outside and hold a sign or circulate a petition, or I can try to put myself in a position of influence and decision making to directly impact a lot of these environmental issues that I really care a lot about.


And that's what led me to run for State House in 2002. My old were you I was twenty one and my dad, that was the first that my dad ran for city council that same year. So it was kind of it was kind of fun for us to share. So he ran for city council out. And when I and I was running for State House and have a beach and so our districts like, they didn't overlap really, but they were adjacent to each other.


But every morning it was like, OK, my mom would pack a lunch and, uh, send him out.


And I went out. We were sign waving every day and knocking on doors every day for four months.


But that was that was both of our introduction into running for office at the same time. And it was for me, it was a totally it was a totally foreign experience because I had no, you know, formal education in it. I was not a part of a debate team, had not been trained to public speak in any way at all.


Um, and on top of all of that total one hundred percent introvert like, you know, I had my circle of friends growing up, but I was I was so shy and I was fine with it because I just hung out with who I want to hang out with.


But anybody outside of that, I would not I wouldn't talk to people. I'd make my sister go out and talk to people and I'd read books and do my martial arts and yoga and just do my thing. And so to then put choose to put myself in a position where I'd have to learn how to give speeches, I'd have to figure out how to pick up the phone and call total strangers, which was anxiety inducing in and of itself. But not only do that, but ask them like, hey, would you like to donate to my campaign for a state house to then go like I never forget the first day I went to go knock on doors like I knew enough about I'd done enough research to know if I'm going to run for this seat, I'm going to run to win.


And in order to do that, I have to convince this many people to vote for me in order to win this race. So I had I had the math figured out and I had the voting list, people's addresses and names and, um, literally got on the computer made like this black and white kind of janky brochure saying this is who I am.


And I had, you know, copies of that that I went and made at the coffee shop and and I sat in my car. It's like an aqua colored geo metro to do our Geo Metro, um, on old Eva Beach Road in in Waipahu and.


And. It took me about 30 minutes in the car to summon up the courage to go knock on that first door, and I was terrified, absolutely terrified, just thinking of every scenario that could possibly go wrong, but also like, what are the first words that need to come out of my mouth? And then what if they asked me this question, what if I don't know the answer, just all of these different things?


And, you know, like when knocked on the first door and like this wonderful old Filipino lady answered the door and she's like, hey, how are you?


Wonderfully kind. And offered me a glass of water.


And like, the hole was like, oh my God, OK. Then went through the whole scenario all over again for the next door.


Holsten, like every single door was, was a major obstacle for me. And ultimately, like, why put myself through this and how did I get through it? It really just that groundedness and and the ability to step way outside of anything I was comfortable with came from, um, that, that desire to serve and knowing that ultimately keeping reminding myself ultimately like, why do you care so much about yourself? This is not about you. If you wanted to do something for yourself, you would certainly not be doing this, you'd be out surfing right now.


And and that was that was my introduction into into elected politics.


So you won. Did your dad. When I won.


And he won. Yep. And my mom my mom was serving she served one four year term in the Board of Education. So for two years, from twenty two to four, um, the three of us were all like in serving in different buildings, all in the same kind of, you know, quarter, quarter mile, quarter square mile area.


And one of those, it was fun and obviously you liked it at some level.


You liked the impact that you were able to have because you carried on with this sort of.


Yeah, in life. I never once thought, you know, when I won that election, it was a five way Democratic primary first that I had to get through and then a general election that I got through. Um, I yes, I liked the impact, but I never once thought that I want to have a career, quote unquote, career in politics. I was absolutely not attached to that. I thought, OK, hey, this is something I can do now and I'll make the most of it.


And then, you know, we'll see, we'll see where it goes. And I ended up serving just one term there because of Iraq.


So when did you when did September eleventh happen? Or so I was.


Where were you up? So I was I was just starting my my campaign to run for the state house when that happened.


And at what point did you decide you wanted to enlist in the National Guard in Hawaii? I I knew in some way when 9/11 happened and obviously were in Hawaii. You know, we're six hours behind New York on that day. So we woke up to turning on the news and it had already happened. And, you know, I think like like everybody in our country, it was it bit it deep.


It deeply impacted me in a way that I felt. Almost right away that I wanted to do something to to to go after and defeat the terrorists that attacked us then.


Um, I just didn't quite know exactly how to do that, because I was I had already made a decision to pursue this particular path of of being able to serve Hawaii. And so eventually eventually I felt that I had learned about the National Guard and what it's about and, you know, serve your state in its time of need, but also be ready to stand up and serve your country and and decided to enlist in early 2003, because I felt that would be a way that I could accomplish both objectives, essentially.


Did you have familiarization with the military because of your grandfather that had spent his whole career in the Army and in the Air Force?


Or were you really just just through stories? He passed away while I was still relatively young. And because they he and my grandmother lived in Samoa, we didn't get a ton of time together. Um, my dad had had and his high school best friend had tried to enlist to serve in Vietnam. They had both gone to I guess it would have been maps or some sort of version of it. And they both walked in together and went into different rooms to go through all the medical exams and stuff.


He wanted to be a medic. And when they came out, my dad had been rejected for medical reasons. It may have been flat feet or something like that. And he was he was totally heartbroken, but his best friend came out and was enlisted. And so I ended up going and serving in Vietnam. But it was something that my dad always. Wished that he had been able to do just to to be able to serve, and so, um, that was that was pretty much the most of my personal note.


No one else in my family, my son, my uncles had served. But again, we're in Hawaii. So, like, we don't you know, they don't get to see him or hang out with them that much.


So. So you show up to book. Do you go to boot camp? Yeah. So I, I had I was in the state legislature at the time and so I had to, I, I took the ASVAB and everything. The recruiters like you can, you can have whatever job you want. Just tell me what you want to do and literally made the decision. I was like look, my session has done on this date and then I got to be back by this date.


So find me a basic training and an Ayittey that can fit within these like this five month period. I got to knock it all out at once.


And so I ended up in a, um, like medical operations or something like that because it was only seven weeks long.


I was like, oh, I want to do like combat journalism or something like that, but you got to go to school for six months or whatever. But so I shipped out right after the legislative session was done. I enlisted on the actually on the floor of the state House and, um, went to Fort Jackson the summer of 2003. Um, managed to, um, not get noticed by the drill sergeants for my political job until like a week seven of nine, which I was pretty happy about and only got found out because, um, uh, me and my my assigned battle buddy, um, we were pulling duty at, like the battalion headquarters one afternoon, uh, like watching the door or whatever it was.


And the Italian sergeant major walked in and did what Sergeant Majors do, uh, like, hey, privates, how are you and where do you come from and what did you do before you joined the army?


And, you know, that whole conversation. And so you talk to my battle buddy first, and she told him she I think she was from the Midwest and she's like, yeah. So, you know, I was working at McDonald's and decided to join the military. And this is what I want to do.


And it's like, oh, you know, that's great. That's great. And what about you?


It's like, yeah, I'm from Hawaii and I'm a state representative there. And, you know, this is what I want to do. And and he just looked at me. He's like, you wait.


You said what you do, what you're like. How come I don't know about this? You asked me that. How come I don't know about this?


Like, I don't I don't know. I you know, the in processing paperwork that says, what is your civilian occupation? I, I wrote it down and turned it in. But, you know, who's your drill sergeant.


And it's all downhill. All downhill for me from there.


Going from Hawaii, going from like kind of cruising mode of Hawaii. Yeah. Which I know it sounds like there's there's a little bit of well there's there's also like this whole competitive thing with your family and you're obviously were driven because you're out creating these things and running for office and all this. But I mean, all of a sudden you're in boot camp. Was it a shock? Of course, yeah.


Yeah. I mean, it's I'd be worried if if it wasn't a shock.


Um, but I I'm really you know, I'm happy that I went in with the perspective of at least just understanding that whatever the madness is, there's a purpose to it. And don't get I just I've never I've always been a pretty chill person and I don't get freaked out by that much.


And yeah. So I actually, in a very weird and twisted way, really loved it. It was it was the camaraderie and that kind of bond that that is built in a very short period of time with a whole bunch of strangers from all over the country knowing that and appreciating that like all of us are there for the same reason. All of us are there for the same purpose.


Whatever the motivating decision was to enlist really didn't matter that, you know, we all wore the same uniform and all in the same team was it was I loved it.


How long after you got back from boot camp and it was it that you went on your first deployment?


Came back home at the end of 2003 from training and then the Twenty Ninth Brigade combat team from the Hawaii National Guard was activated. I want to say the notification came out in the summer of 2004. I was campaigning for my re-election at that point in time, and I remember going in and and taking a break from knocking on doors, knocking on doors again, and I got an email at home, check my email at home and and got the notification of the deployment.


But I was not on the I was not on the deployment roster because they they already had somebody who filled, you know, that job in the medical in the field medical company. And so I immediately called my commander and just said, hey, like, what's what's the deal here? I don't see my name on the roster.


And he said, Tulsi, congratulations. Like, you get to stay home, you don't have to go. And, um, that bothered me a lot.


And I just said, no, I just you know, I knew that there was no way I could stay back and that to, you know, sit in my office in the state capitol and watch everybody leave was not an option for me.


And so I continued the conversation with my my my commander. And I just said, sir, I'm going to tell me what job I need to get trained and that you need filled so that I can go. And that's that's that's what happened. So I, I kind of I publicly withdrew for my reelection campaign. It was too late to take my name off the ballot, but told everybody, like, I'm not I'm not running for re-election, volunteered to fill this position.


And we left we started our active duty train up, I think it was in August of that year of 2004.


And then we were in country in early January 2005.


What job did you get trained for? What job? What did you do?


It was medical logistics. So supply, which and you're a specialist at this point.


Yeah, I was in need for that's kind of a freshie for um.


And as you know, like, OK, I filled I filled the position, but once we actually got there, I ended up becoming I ended up filling a position that was previously held by any seven as the brigade surgeon operations person.


And so kind of was working, you know, like line of duty, paperwork and injuries and tracking supplies for all of our medics and docs and PPO's, who were attached to all of the infantry units and and also every day, just tracking, going through going through the report every day for our brigade commander of of looking named by name down this list of casualties that had occurred in the previous twenty four hours to see if there was anyone there from our nearly three thousand person brigade and make sure that they were getting taken care of, whether in country to stay in country or getting them evacuated and staying with them and tracking their care every step of the way until eventually they made their way home.


Where were you actually stationed? In Iraq? We were in Balad, in LSA Anaconda. Most of us were there. That was kind of the base. And then we had units in Camp Victory in Baghdad and in a couple other kind of smaller fobs out in different areas. And so I moved around. I moved around a little bit, kind of going out and visiting some of our units and checking in on them, um, where they, you know, where they were.


But that was that was primarily where I spent most of the time.


And how did you what was that deployment like from your perspective? Now, looking back, what kind of lessons did you bring back? What did you learn from that from that deployment to Iraq?


A lot, yeah, I came back and my family told me this after, I don't think I fully realized how much I had changed, but it was something that they immediately noticed in in coming back just.


More sober and. More focused and that that really came from, you know, I talked a little bit about how realizing from a young age like death can come at any moment. Well, that's that's a philosophical realization.


And being there, that became very real very quickly.


And, you know, there was have you been there did you ever pass through there? When I went to Balad, I'd be there for like 20 minutes and go to a meeting and leave. So I barely remember anything.


Did you come in like a vehicle or helicopter? Yeah. Yeah. So there was there was within the first couple of days of of us arriving there, the big camp, massive.


And so, you know, kind of was going out and like, OK, orienting myself is everything at and I noticed right away at at the north gate of that camp, at least at that time, I don't know if it's still there, but there was a big there's a big, huge sign that someone had put up on, you know, that you would see every time you leave camp out through the north gate, which is where most of our patrols use that gate that the sign read is today, the day.


And I just remember being stopped in my tracks and just taken a minute to to to take that in and the meaning of it. So that none of us would ever forget that today could be the day. And that that was the welcome message, and it really it it hit home so much. In that daily task that I had of of actually seeing names of people who I never knew, people in different parts of who were serving different parts of the country, but also people who I did know whose names would pop up on that list every single day that I went through, and recognizing, again, how precious life is and any any any day, any moment, you know, that that could be your last.


And then, of course, we we had unfortunately, you know, we lost we lost a lot of people during that deployment. And to me, it really it changed everything for me because ultimately. Coming home, I knew there was absolutely no way that I could just go back to the life that I had left behind, as though I didn't just experience, like the people like, oh, you're going to go back and run for your seat in the state legislature.


You're going to pick this up and kind of like hit the play button on my life that had been paused and it was impossible. I didn't even think about it because I knew that somehow this experience that I had had, I wanted I wanted to do something positive with it in in being able to impact the kinds of decisions. That took us all to that war in the first place. So then so then what was the next move?


When you get home, it's is it now twenty thousand six. Two thousand.


So we were in country for a year and then, you know, had the demobilization when we came back. And so it was 2006. And I was trying to figure out, OK, what am I going to do? That was no obvious answer to the question that I was asking, which was how can I, you know, how can I take this and turn it into something positive? Ultimately, I ended up volunteering our one of our U.S. senators from Hawaii at that time.


Um, Senator Akaka was being challenged in a primary election, which is kind of unheard of. Um, you know, the power of incumbency is is very real.


Plus, he's like the kindest, most aloha guy you will ever, ever meet in your entire life. No one has a bad thing to say about him, but he got this challenge that came out of nowhere and I didn't know him at all. Personally, I have no personal relationship whatsoever. Um, the guy challenging him, um, I did have some some interaction with that was not positive. And so I was I was like, OK, I'm going to go volunteer full time for Senator Akaka, make sure that that that he wins his reelection.


Uh, and he did. And he I don't know if he was already or I think he was. After the reelection, he became the chairman of the US Senate Committee for Veterans Affairs. And so after volunteering on the campaign, his chief of staff said, hey, do you want to come and work in Washington and as a legislative aide and help him with that, work on the committee and, you know, environment and energy, natural resource, few other areas.


And so that's what I did. Ended up going and working with him in Washington for a couple of years, um, went through OCS while I was there. And, um, how did you get an ox bullet?


Did you graduate college somewhere along the way? Good question.


I forgot about that part. I was working.


I was I was, um, while in Iraq working on my degree to go on an education center tent. And, you know, like sometimes you got mortars coming in and the alarm sounded. You got to go in the bunker and come back out and say, I was I was continuing my education while I was there. Um, and I had gotten just enough credits. You needed 60 credits to go to OCS, and I had just enough credits to go.


And I was still working on my degree when I was in D.C. and I was working there. And so I was kind of working full time and doing school at night. Um, but yeah, I in slid in and then got I think you needed 90 credits to get your commission or something like that. You still had to keep squeaking. So yeah.


So I just, I barely squeaked by then.


So you go to OCS. Is it anything, anything shocking about 06.


Anything that was I loved I knew obviously osseous is to train leaders, but I didn't know going in, um, the depth of that. And that was why that was why I wanted to go through OCS. When I graduated from basic training, I was like, I want to be the sergeant major, the Army one day all about it. And then, you know, I got a deployment under my belt and got to witness some some examples of great leadership, also some examples of leaders that were lacking in a lot of areas, and especially the deployed deployed setting in a dangerous way.


And that was that that made a major impact for me, coming back to say, OK, you know, same thing like I can complain about having shitty leaders or I can actually go and try to be be a good leader of soldiers. And I love and I tell kids, you come and ask me like, hey, if they want to join the military, become an officer, very biased. Yes. You can go to the West Point thing.


And that's great.


Highly, highly, highly recommend OCS, because it is it is intense. It is relatively short and it is just like it is. It is the essentials of provide. It provides you with the essential tools to to begin your leadership path.


And I just I loved it so much that I ended up going back as a tack officer after I had gotten a deployment as a platoon leader under my belt, and then I loved it even more.


How long is it? How long is Army barracks?


So there's the active duty army folks at Fort Benning, which is, I think three, maybe between three and four months.


Um, I went through an accelerated. Guard Hox in Alabama at Fort McClellan that uses the same program of instruction as as the Fort Benning program, but just condenses it down to I think it was maybe 10 weeks and the like.


You know, the difference is like they they get weekends off at Fort Benning, like they get to use computers and phones and like that.


And we got none of that. It was it was seven days a week, you know, 4:00 a.m. to midnight, all up orders like no access to technology whatsoever. So everything you were doing, it was like you're writing it, you're writing your your six page op order yourself.


And, um, you know, it sucked as you're going through it, of course. But, you know, I'm old enough now. I'm approaching 18 years now in the Army Reserves. And so I'm like one of those old people. It's like, man, you guys got so good.


Now, back in the day.


Back in the day you so then you go on another deployment. In this time you go to Kuwait. You're in Kuwait that time. Yeah. Yeah. We were it was a different it was a different mission for the brigade and kind of each of the battalions were passed out and a lot of different areas, a lot of our our infantry battalions or cav battalions were doing convoy security from within Kuwait in and out of Iraq. Um, my platoon was attached to Field Artillery Battalion, and we were we I and I'm so grateful for this.


But we were we were physically located very, very far away from the flagpole, um, and the big bases that that exist in Kuwait. So we were within an active Kuwaiti naval base and right on the water, which, you know, it's my gig. I got to be close to the water if I can.


Um, but our our main mission, um, the artillery battalion had kind of a force protection mission. But my platoon, we had had two things. One was kind of security, um, like like high level security. If we had VIPs coming in to Kuwait or and we worked with the embassy a lot, we did a lot of stuff in and around the embassy. So like personal security, um, you know, we did security for a lot of the ammunition movements from the ports to where they had to go.


And then also we did I had a training mission, which was the which was the fun one for me. It was being able to go and train the Kuwaiti army on, you know, marksmanship, um, basic, you know, how to clear a building. What do you do if you're dealing with, like a civil disturbance or a riot to riot control?


Like, exactly the reverse? Oh, yeah.


It was it was it was interesting for me, though, because, um, you know, a platoon leader for a military police platoon in Kuwait where I didn't realize until we got there, they don't allow women on their bases at all. It doesn't matter if you're the general's wife or you're a janitor. There are no women. What if you're Tulsi Gabbard?


Tulsi Gabbard showed up and I really didn't know when we were up like that first day to go in and meet the unit and meet the unit commander. Um, obviously I'm in uniform and my hair is up. I got, you know, big ball of hair on the back of my head. And I didn't know what they were going to do at the gate.


Did you have other females in your platoon?


I had I had, um, two two females in my platoon there. Um, one was only three and one was only four. The rest were, you know, these are guys who are in state, local or federal law enforcement, mostly at home in their civilian jobs, and just about all of them had at least one or two deployments under their belt. And so they're they're seasoned, experienced guys. Um, but yeah.


So I showed up I showed up on day one and, you know, kind of showed my ID card at the gate and the gate guards didn't really know what to do, but he saw, you know, he saw the American flag and he's like, ah, OK, go ahead.


And so my I was my partner in this was a master sergeant at eight and super, super cool, easygoing guy. And and so we went and we started to we got introduced to the guys that we'd be training. We ended up doing a number of iterations of different groups of guys, but, um, you know, kind of went down the line shaking hands and saying hello. And there was probably half of the Kuwaiti guys who I was invisible.


There certainly was no shaking of hands, certainly no eye contact or even acknowledgement that I was standing there and, you know, OK, got it.


Challenge. How do you go from, like, I don't exist in your universe to actually being able to help provide you with some instruction and develop the report necessary to be able to do that?


And, um, you know, so I, I kind of drawing from maybe the Aloha and Hawaii of just recognizing, hey, you know, we're we're different people, different backgrounds, different language, different culture, different everything. But I respect like I respect you and, um, I'm going to treat you with that aloha. That respect. And, um, gradually I started to see the ice kind of started to thaw. And ultimately, you know, when we're out on the range and I'm walking up and I'm telling them like, hey, like, OK, here's this like basic safety things.


And and then like, okay, I'm going to show you how to do it. And then, you know, um, gradually it got to the point. I knew I knew I had made progress. We sat down for lunch and they started to share their lunch with me is all like food.


Food is food is the ultimate, you know, bridge builder. And I knew once you were like, hey, like here, try my food. Like, oh, yeah, awesome. Like, cool. Yeah, that's really good. And it got to the point where, um, on on their graduation day of that first group, their commander had everybody in the room, everybody seated there. You get in there getting all the graduation certificates and everything.


And their commander asked me to come forward and presented me with this plaque of appreciation and thanks. And some of the there were some American civilians who are also working that, um, that mission. And and they had been there longer than we had. And they said Tulse, after we're there like Tulsa, I hope you understand what a big deal that was for this Kuwaiti military officer, um, you know, the traditional bearded Muslim man to recognize the accomplishments of a woman.


And I was very grateful to have been able to experience experience that in recognizing the bigger significance that, you know, not so much about. Like, well, this is about women's rights or empowerment, but more so about how to overcome seemingly impossible barriers to get to a place where you have mutual professional respect and understanding and and the power of that alone.


And there are obvious parallels that we could point to in today's world here in America.


But yeah, yeah, that's a that's an awesome story. And lately I've been talking a lot about the fact that if you want respect, you got to give respect. If you want people to listen to you, you got to listen to them. If you want to have influence over people, you've got to allow them to influence you. And if you want to build trust with people, you've got to trust them. Yes. And it's interesting, you know, you kind of captured well, at least for sure.


The respect part is aloha, right? It's the aloha spirit of, hey, you know what? You're a little bit different than me, but it's all good. We'll figure it out.


And that way of building relationships is so much better than you saying, hey, look, I might be a woman. You might not think I'm here, but I am a executive in the United States Army. And you will like. OK, good luck with that. You never would have made any progress at all.




And so taking a little a little bit of a low, apparently with a little lunch as well, goes a long way over time. Yeah.


And people want to be confrontational because it seems like well, it's the least offensive thing to your ego, right.


When. And someone looks at you or doesn't look at you, treat you like you're not there, that that can be a blow to your ego, that your ego can't can't repress it. It just has to come out. Your ego has to say, you will look at me, dammit. You know, I am Tulsi. Listen to me. You have to listen and and all those things, even though it seems like it would be, you know, this direct, I just need to be direct with them and tell them that.


And it's like, OK, I'm telling you that that attitude doesn't work. Look, we're talking about a pretty serious cultural divide. Yeah. But it happens with everything. It happens if you and I are trying to figure out how to execute a mission. And you think we should do it one way. And I think we should do it a different way. And I tell you. Well, to tell you that because you don't you haven't done this kind of operation before or because you haven't been in as long as me or because you don't.


You went to OCS and I went to West Point. So therefore, I know about all those things are wrong. All those things are going to make it harder for us to come to a good, an actual good, the best possible decision, which is what we want.


So putting your ego in check at a little aloha to that and we can actually make some progress. And unfortunately, you know, it's kind of like when I started off talking about, you know, if you have an idea about something, I have an idea about something. And my my. Default mode is to say you're freaking wrong. How are we going, how are we going to talk about it? How are we going to actually figure out what to do?


No, you stay on your side and I'll stay on my side and we won't do anything, which is a freaking nightmare. Yeah, and that's where that's where I see the parallel in that experience with the aloha that that I strived to bring everyday to my work in Washington. As you start with, you know, finding that common ground, even with such incredible stark differences that that are real. You start with, OK, what what is what is the common ground that we can stand on comfortably together, coupled with what is our shared objective?


What is the thing that we are trying to accomplish and recognizing that whatever your personal feelings may be, however strong may be, may be what your views are. Ultimately, if you can find some commonality in both those places, then you recognize that it's not about you. It's about this shared goal and purpose that you have. And then like you'll find a way, you'll figure it out again.


It's another thing I've been talking to a lot about lately, as if you and I can get aligned, we can come to a solution, but we sometimes have to go pretty high up the ladder of alignment to get to a point where it actually meets.


So we have a mission and you want to attack the target from the left and I want to tax the target from the right.


Well, that's that's OK. As long as we both know that we want to secure that target, that's what we want to do.


And then all one of us has to do is put our you go in check for 15 seconds and say, you know, Whittlesey attacking from the right. Sounds good. Let's do it your way.


Right. Because I just want to get to I just want to get the target secured. That's what I want to do.


That's that's OK. Where we also get into a problem is agenda's now you have an agenda where you want your platoon to do it and I want my platoon to do it. So then we have to rise above those agendas. Now, it's possible that our agenda is that your agenda is still aligned with the goal. You want to get the targets here. Great. You want your platoon to do it. You know what? If I can put my ego in check for fifteen seconds to say no, it sounds good.


Tulsi, why don't you take your your platoon can take lead and I'll support you. It sounds good. All I want to do is get the mission done. Exactly. And people run around in circles and attack each other. And worst part, they never make progress. They never make it to the target because they can't even they can't even come to any kind of agreement.


Yeah, that that's that that sounds exactly like one of the first things I was introduced to as a new member of Congress where I the message was delivered very clearly from the leadership, um, within within the Democratic Party. And so my Republicans went through some of the same stuff on their side. So this isn't about one party or another, but the message being like, hey, look, this is about winning the election. And if we're in power, it's about keeping power.


If we are not in power, it's about how how do we get it back?


And so if there's a bill, for example, that deals with whatever, let's say it deals with transportation, something about as universally agreed upon as you can get, like we need to move from A to B, all of us do. So if there's a bill on transportation infrastructure and it's introduced by a Republican, you don't support that bill.


You should support one that could be virtually identical as long as there's a Democrat name at the top that's leading that effort, because that will allow the Democrat person and the Democratic Party to then take credit for it, which will then be put on a brochure or a TV ad that you can use in the next campaign, which will get us closer to getting power or maintaining power.


And this is where we won't run into problems in the world. Yeah. Is when ultimately we're not aligned.


But that's where the actual problem comes in, is if you where you want to go, the target that you want to hit is not the same as the target that I want to hit. And then we can't we can't overcome these problems because we are not going to the same place. They don't. They don't. They're not the same place. So how are we going to go? We can't be in two places at once. We're going to your place or my place.


And that's where we run into a problem when people are saying, well, the main point of us doing this is to get power, not to help American people, not to move transportation in a good direction, but just so we get re-elected. And if that's what the goal is, we can't get aligned. And it's a problem.


And that is exactly where the lack of alignment exists, because you have a political infrastructure where both political parties are ultimately and this is not every single person, but if you look at the goals of the leadership of both parties, it is about power. So. Right. You know, I served in Congress for eight years. For the first half of my time there, Republicans were in charge, Democrats were in the minority, and then Democrats won and took over the House.


Democrats are in charge, Republicans the minority. And you just see it play out where whoever is in power is trying to keep power, whoever is not is trying to is trying to take it, and there's no alignment because they're looking out for their own interests for the parties.


And they are not ultimately making decisions about what legislation comes to the House floor or what issues are being tackled based on what's in the best interests of the country, which is where that alignment must be.


And it's how our system of governance was set up that not that you have everybody is part of one party or marching in lockstep or having all of the same views, but instead that you bring the diversity of different views, experiences, backgrounds and ideas by having in the House of Representatives four hundred and thirty five people from all across the country, all elected by constituents in their districts, who can then bring their ideas.


Where you have debate and conversation, you have bills that theoretically go through committee where you can offer amendments and try to strengthen whatever the proposal might be or kill it if it's a bad idea. And then you've got to vote on the floor. Like this is Civics 101 that we learn about in school. It does not exist in reality, though, today, because instead of figuring out, hey, how do we work out our differences and come to that same goal of like, how do we fix all of the potholes in our roads in Hawaii and all over the country?


OK, we need to invest in some infrastructure. How do we do that? How much money? How is this best going to be executed instead?


And we saw this play out over you know, when Trump first got elected, I reporters asked me, what what do you think Tulsi is the one thing like what's the low hanging fruit where there were bipartisan agreement and work is possible? I and most other people said infrastructure. Every community needs it every time. This is a domestic job creator that actually solves real problems that need to be solved. It never happened. There was no infrastructure bill that even really came before Congress for any serious consideration.


And why is that like the most low hanging fruit that everybody agrees on? That objective didn't happen because of partisan differences and an unwillingness to say, OK, yeah, Democrats had a certain idea and a certain dollar amount. Republicans had a different idea and a different dollar amount, but there was never any real good faith, serious effort to say, OK, where can we meet in the middle? What am I willing to give up? What are you willing to give up so that we can actually start to deliver on fulfilling the needs, the very real needs that exist within our communities.


So I know you said not everyone is so entrenched, but what percentage of people are entrenched on the left and the right?


I would say most. I would say most. And not because they're bad people necessarily. But if you look at the system that exists, the power that the political parties have is massive.


And unfortunately, there are too few people who go to Washington willing to buck that power and deal with the consequences of that and the consequences being, hey, if you don't if you don't toe the party line, then if you've got a tough challenge in your reelection campaign, we're not going to help fund TV ads for you, for example, or we're not going to deploy resources to support you or we'll pull you off the committee that that you're on, that you really like.


Or maybe we're not going to consider your bill on. We won't allow your bill to come to the floor for a vote. And sometimes these are very direct statements that are made and sometimes they're they're not signals that are sent in an indirect way. And so the result of having too few people who are willing to kind of stand up and make decisions based on purely based on on merit versus the political pressures is you end up having a lot of people who either enjoy and get right into playing the political games and are all about it.


And then you have other people who maybe unwillingly or even as they are disheartened but feel like they have no other option than to play the game. And so it you know, and frankly, it's because they see they see people like me. You know, President Obama was present during the time I came. I was sworn into Congress in twenty thirteen. So his first four years. And then I had President Trump as president for the last four years that I was in Congress.


And in both cases, you know, if there was an issue that I agreed on as Obama or Trump, I spoke out and said it. If there is an issue I disagreed on Obama or Trump. I spoke out and said it, which is which is is is kind of. Heresy in Washington, because the expectation is, even if it's the same exact scenario, the same exact situation, if it's your person in the White House and you don't like it, you don't say anything.


But if it's the other party, then I mean, the world is going to end. Look at how this terrible thing and it's such a blatant double standard and so hypocritical.


I think this is one of the reason why voters are just like, come on, like we can see what you're doing.


So ridiculous. Exactly. But, you know, they exist within this bubble where it's I mean, it is it's I've talked about this before.


This is kind of like high school. There is a popularity contest and it's both people. It's this ecosystem where people really care a whole lot about what parties they're invited to or who answers answers their phone calls.


As far as I'm just going to point this, because I've heard you talk about this before.


You're not saying like, oh, it's like high school where people care about what parties they're invited to. You're saying people actually are thinking, well, Towsley didn't invite me to that party, so we're going to step on her bill that she pushed for.


I'll give you an example. Very it is it is literal. It's not like, you know, it's not an analogy. It's literal. There was, you know, in the pre covid world and maybe even in the pre Trump world, the White House Correspondents Dinner is like the big event of the year and it is hosted by the media for the media.


And you only get invited as a politician if someone in the media invites you to go as as your guest. It's kind of like Washington D.c.'s Oscars kind of gala type situation.


So, you know, it's all of the Fancy's everything and Hollywood celebrities fly in for it. And it's like a it's a really big thing. And I remember, you know, I I happened to get an invitation to go the first year I was there without knowing anything about what it was. And I was talking to some of my colleagues are like, Tulsi, you got to like I like this guy, my friend.


He's like, I've been here seven years and I've never been invited to that, like, hook a brother up thing.


And it was so I mean, it was so surreal to me, especially because having gone from that, where I was invited to go to that or other things, you know, like the first few years I was there and then, um, you know.


I stopped getting those invitations because, like, hold on a second, she's actually, like, challenging whatever the narrative is or challenging decisions made within her own party or saying or doing things that didn't fall within the mainstream of popularity in Washington, D.C..


And so I've experienced the arc of like, OK, you're cool. You seem kind of cool.


And like, you know, you're a surfer, you're better and you're this, you're that. And then all of a sudden like, oh, wait, hold on.


You actually have something to say that's not just whatever.


Literally the email talking points are of the day, then, you know, it turns into something else.


Let's let's let's rewind it a little bit to when you actually ran.


So you get home from in in what, twenty nine. You get home 2009.


I came back from my second deployment in 2009 and kind of faced a similar pivotal decision point on on what to do next. And just like the first deployment, I came back with this same kind of sense of purpose and mission of wanting to find a way to be in a position where I could I could help influence decisions or make decisions about our country's foreign policy and about our military and, um, but didn't know exactly what or how I would do it.


I didn't there was no obvious choice at that time. I had applied for something called the White House Fellows Program, which I thought would have been a great opportunity, where basically it's a highly competitive. You heard of it before. Yeah. So it's this highly competitive program that ultimately, if selected, you serve for a year as a senior special assistant to a cabinet member or to the president or the vice president. So you kind of, you know, jump in your way up to directly being able to help influence and impact issues.


So I had applied for that, got through to the regional finals and then got through to the final final interviews, which was, I think, three days of assessment, essentially, which consisted of, you know, we're told, OK, as soon literally as soon as you arrive there, you're being assessed by the judges.


I think there were twelve judges and ultimately they would choose probably twelve people out of maybe I think maybe they're 20 of us there. And so whether it was the the welcoming reception or these actual boards, essentially, that you would go individually and sit before there's, you know, I think four different boards of three judges and, you know, do a Q&A kind of thing.


And then there was something that, um, they gave us an exercise where all of us who were there, we had to pull names or positions out of a hat.


And so I think the position I got was White House chief of staff. Someone else was the president, someone else was the vice president. And then they say, OK, here's the scenario on when music, something like Country X is just launched an attack on us and you have.


You've convened a meeting in the Situation Room, execute like you've got 15 minutes to prepare and then you go and execute. And so role playing scenario, kind of war gaming thing. And and the judges are just standing there watching and just trying to figure out, OK, what are the dynamics and, you know, who are the Alphas and who's taking charge and who's just like the wallflower sitting on the edge. And how do you make decisions that process, that kind of stuff?


It was it was a really cool experience. Long story short, I didn't get picked.


Why do you think you got picked? I don't know. I really don't know.


I sought out a couple of the judges that I had developed a little bit of a rapport with to kind of get some feedback. And and this was part of the thing, like every step of the way, people who are former White House fellows who had given me some mentorship on how to approach the process in advance. And some of the judges like they're like off your Schuett, like you are exactly the kind of person that this program was built for.


And and so I stupidly had started to believe all of that and, you know, went through it and was careful and did my preparation and went into it. But, you know, in my mind, I had already told myself, like, you got this, like you're in. And then so when I was I was riding the metro in D.C. and I remember getting off at Union Station and coming up the escalator and then my phone buzzed with the voicemail.


Of course, I was waiting for the call and the voice mail said, Hi, Tulsi, we regret to inform you.


And so for that moment, I was just like I was I was incredibly disappointed, obviously, but then had to reset, be like, OK, so like that's off the table. And so I ended up I ended up, you know, I knew that I was continuing to see what can I do? And I ended up running for and getting elected to the Honolulu City Council and focusing on those potholes and, um, you know, trash and sewers and parks and law enforcement.


For two years until my former boss, Senator Akaka, retired from the U.S. senator, announced he was retiring and the one of the members of Congress said that she was going to run for his seat, which left a vacancy in the House. And ultimately, that's that's where I made the decision. I made the decision to run, knowing that specifically in the United States Congress, I would be exactly where I needed to be to try to influence and impact those decisions.


Was it a tough campaign? I mean, it's incredibly tough. Who were you going against?


There were six people who ran, you know, its strong Democratic state. So the real election is the primary election. And there were six people who were running in that Democratic primary.


But the main person who was kind of the assumed winner of the election, even, you know, nine months out from the election, was a guy who had just run for and lost a race for governor, but who is also the former mayor of Oahu, the city and county of Honolulu. And so, you know, just for some perspective, our state has about one point four million population, around 980000 of which live on Oahu and the district that that we were running for.


Um, there's there's two members of Congress from Hawaii. One is kind of the urban representative that that has almost the whole south shore of Oahu, the urban that kind of densely urban populated area. And then the other member of Congress, which was the seat that I was running for, has the West Side, North Shore and east side of Oahu and all of the neighbor islands. And so I came into this with I think it was about two percent known name recognition in that district because my city council district was actually in the other, um, it was in the urban part of Oahu.


So there was, again, no overlap in those districts. And the guy, the you know, the front runner in the race, he had everybody in the state knew who he was.


He also had a little bit of baggage, um, that came with having just been the mayor. And that's a whole other a whole other conversation. But so so the challenge was was pretty great to go from like three like three percent against one hundred percent. And somehow I had to try to cover that gap.


And I just you know, I remember meeting with with some some of the political, um, you know, elders, for lack of a better word in Hawaii and letting them know that people I had decent relationships with, letting them know that I was going to run and why, and getting a lot of patronizing responses back, saying, you know, Tulsi, you're, I think, a. Is 30 at the time. Thirty one, you're young, you have no chance against this guy.


So just, you know, don't waste your time and come back and try again in like 20 years. You'll be great in 20 years.


And I was like, I don't operate on that timeline. So you're like, hold my beer. Pretty much. Pretty much.


Did you go super aggressive? How to how the hell did you make up that kind of distance? Well, so first I had to fundraising is a huge thing because I needed to be able to have the resources to let people know I existed and who I am. First of all, just my name, period. And then to let them know, you know, my experience and my background and why why I was wanting to serve them in Congress. And so, you know, we started out we started out just like putting signs up around the district and hoping that that would cause for people to say, who's Tulsi Gabbard?


Like, what is this about? And, um, and it was it was a lot of time going and doing what I called the most extensive job interview ever, where I went and traveled to each island and spent a lot of time in communities with individuals, with groups, small groups, large groups, introducing myself to them and answering their questions and letting them know why I wanted to serve them in Congress, what kind of leadership I would bring, where I stood on on different issues that they cared about.


And, um, ultimately what happened was. Well, five months before Election Day, my I was polling at 20 percent to the front runners, 65, and then the rest was split between the other people.


And I was like, awesome progress. Yes, exactly.


And I just I just continued, you know, I was I was on the phone and I was asking people for support and raising money and then also out on the road just, you know, seven days a week, all day. And it was it was it was an incredible, incredible experience.


Election Day comes around in August of 2012 and all the way up until about two weeks before the election, the local media and even some of the national coverage was just like, this guy's this guy's got it. I had heard from other people. He was already interviewing staff a few months before the election that he planned to hire once he won. Um. Our debate, we had one big televised debate, we had a few others, but there was one big televised debate.


I passed him in the hall right before the debate and he was singing that song Black Eyed Peas. I think tonight's gonna be a good night as he looked back at me.


And I will I will I have been told I killed it in the debate. And that was where a lot of people first started to take notice, like, who is she?


And I think I think it may may have caught him by surprise just a little bit, but still, like all the way up until about two weeks before, it was like he's got it.


And then some of the polls started to shift and some of the local news, they were like, wait, this can't be right. These polls can't be right because you can't see a big turnaround. I ended up winning the primary election going from that 20 percent.


Five months before to actually beating him by a 22 percent margin on Election Day, and it was it was people people like to say good bye to all these people in D.C. like the next day.


They're like, OK, like what scandal caused him to to allow you to win essentially? Or what was the thing that, you know, that happened? And it was it was there was none. It was literally, I think the difference between someone who felt they were entitled to the position because of a number of reasons and and me recognizing what the position really is, it's a position of trust and responsibility that is is granted to you by the voters in the state.


And they are the ones who I'm accountable to and who I work for.


And it was just it was it was a it was a local kind of Walter Cronkite anchor of our news station who's been doing it forever longer than I've probably for about 30 or 40 years. He's still on TV now. He's a Vietnam veteran. And that election night, he was reporting the results and he actually started to get choked up and got a little got a little tearful because he understood. Why I was running, bringing that experience of service and having been deployed and the significance of.


That I was going to Congress, not for myself, but that I was bringing my brothers and sisters in uniform with me and, um, it was it was a heavy night.


I mean, it was, you know, the parties and things going on. But I remember leaving the the hall that night on election night, and my sister was walking out with me and she's like, Tulsi, you know, you're allowed to celebrate. You know, you're allowed to be happy about this.


But I was just I was immediately like, OK, all right, these are the results. What are we waking up and doing tomorrow? What's the next task? What do we have to do now in order to make sure that we we hit our next market? And that's and that's kind of the the focus that I that I carried with me throughout is, you know, I'm not entitled to anything. And I am here only because the people in my community, in my home state have trusted me to to work for them and to to be their voice and and to represent them to the best of my ability so that the hype of you winning that and being the being the underdog champ rolling in did that that kind of came to you to D.C., right?


I mean, that that hype there's some hype train.


Yeah, totally hype train like saying.


So the Towsley Hype Train shows up and you're sort of you're viewed I think it's actually Nancy Pelosi called you like a rising star, which you seem to hear that it's not really it doesn't get thrown around that term, doesn't get thrown around about political people. But you were like a, quote, rising star in the Democratic Party. So you came with some hype.


Yeah, I didn't I didn't fully understand why, but, yeah, it was there. I mean, I had you know, she I was actually making up drill time with the National Guard after that primary election. Um, I remember being at my unit and she called my my cell phone. I hadn't talked to her before and she called my cell phone and left a message and, um, introduced herself and just said, hey, you know, we have a Democratic convention coming up in a few weeks.


I would love to have you come and be one of the featured speakers during prime time as, um.


Oh, and speak about veterans. Let me know if you're interested. And so, again, like, that's not an opportunity that one gets when you've just been elected to Congress to go and speak to 50000 people in an arena and the whole country. Yes, the whole it's everybody. Yeah.


And and so, you know, I mean, I was grateful for the opportunity and went and, um, it kind of. Yeah. And then, you know, shortly after getting sworn in as a member of Congress, I was asked, hey, will you be vice chair of the DNC? And like, what? What is the vice chair do? Um, what is what is actually that that you're asking me to do and what what can I do?


And that's what they're asking you. It's freakin weird, right?


This is all they kind of saw you. They saw a good horse to put money in.


It was to a great story. And they they wanted to get some control over that hype train.




And I think use, you know, be able to say, hey, you know, there are I mean, there are biographical boxes that I checked a lot of boxes for, you know, the diversity, uh, pick the diversity hire. And and, you know, for me, I'm, you know, just coming in to each of these experiences completely clear eyed and not getting googly eyed at all, like, oh, my God, they love me so much.


But just recognizing, OK, like, what do you what are you trying to use me for even what do you get out of this? And then for me thinking, OK, like weighing pros and cons and saying, is this an opportunity that I can use to try to get some some good done? And if it is then OK, that makes sense. Like maybe there's a mutually beneficial thing here and if there's not, then, you know. No thanks.


Um, but yeah, that's, that's, that's where, that's where things started. So they start off like really awesome. Yeah. Hey, you've got all this hype, you've got opportunities, they're looking at you as a as a potential kind of horse to put money into and invest into as long as we can control you on the track. Right.


That's the fine print. At what point did you did when was the first sort of time that you kind of bucked a little bit? Do you remember what it was? Yeah, absolutely.


It was my first year in Congress in twenty at summer of 2013, um, every year in Congress.


And I don't know, I think this May. Date back to pre air conditioning days, but every year in August, Congress goes into recess, it's the hottest year of the month. It's you know, D.C. is a literal, actual, like geographical swamp.


And so you go you go back to your you so you go back to your district.


Everybody in the House and the Senate, there's a recess in August. You go back to your district and you get like four or five weeks at home or to go and do a congressional delegation trip to another country or whatever.


You set that space and time to do that.


And so I remember being home and getting word that President Obama wanted to go and launch airstrikes and a military attack in Syria and.


Um, I was filling up gas in my car when I so I started to get a lot of calls from constituents, from people about this. And this is this is very quickly developing. I don't have all the facts or information or intelligence or anything at that point.


But, um, people were concerned and I was filling up I was filling up gas one day in Coppell and and a woman who pulled up her car next to me, she saw me there and she came and walked over and she grabbed my arm.


She's like Tulsi, you know, my kids in the military.


Please don't do this. Because I don't understand what it's for. And and there was a number of other kinds of messages coming from people just either expressing total opposition or concern and just coming out of like, you know, Iraq and just everything that had led to that kind of cynicism and fatigue or, OK, we want to go start another war in another country.


Like what did they do to us? And so the recess time was cut short. I was on the Foreign Affairs Committee at that time and I was throughout most of the time I was in Congress. And so we got called back to D.C. early so that we could go through and get the intelligence briefings and actually. Get gather the information, and that was when I first started to take kind of a deep dive into what was happening in Syria and why he was proposing this.


And, um, ultimately, after going into the issue and the question and really he was not going to come to Congress at first, but then enough members of Congress said, you can't like the Constitution, does not allow you to unilaterally just start a war. You have to come and get congressional approval for that. And so that's what we went back and started to prepare for that that vote that would happen. And I just I came to the conclusion after studying the facts that it would be a counterproductive military action.


And much of it came from and we had hearings with Secretary then Secretary of State Kerry and others at the time who were trying to tell Congress like, well, you know, this is not going to be a pinprick strike, but it's not going to be a decapitation. It's going to be a punch in the gut. And, you know, some of my follow up questions were like, OK, so you're going to go and deliver a punch in the gut attack.


How will they respond? Oh, you know, we don't really know, but we don't think it'll be a big deal.


OK, who are their friends? Who are they going to call for help and how may they respond? How could this potentially escalate into something that is no longer a punch in the gut, but something that first, second, third, fourth order effects?


Their response will require a response from us, which require a response, and all of the tit for tat that then begins once you go over and say, I'm not going to cut your head off, I'm just gonna punch you in the gut and think that you're not going to do anything in response.


And I just saw so many of the similarities of a lack of foresight and. Strategic planning, and for me, again, as a military officer, basic level like military decision making process and actually thinking through these things and I saw a similarity like this could very easily become another kind of Iraq kind of situation where you start making these decisions and then they're on the fly and then you're not realising or thinking through what do we do tomorrow and then the next day and where do we go from here?


And so I wrote I wrote like an opinion piece expressing my opposition to the president.


President Obama's proposal published it and, um, was the first Democrat to do so, to express opposition to his proposal. And very quickly got a call from the White House. Basically saying, how dare you? Who in the White House it was the the first lady's chief of staff.


And I still to this day, scratch my head about why they asked her. I knew her. And maybe that was just simply the reason why. But I would think that on a matter like this, you would want to have, I don't know, maybe the national security director or secretary like I don't know somebody.


But that was that was essentially the message is how dare you now not only as a Democrat, but because, like, you're from the president's home state. How could you how could you so publicly disagree with him on something?


That's right. You guys should have been Hawaiians.


Yeah, but the thing was Djogo is is nowhere in that conversation was the substance of the issue raised like, hey, here's why we think your opposition is misplaced or here's what you're not seeing or here's what nothing.


Yeah, nothing at all.


You know, I wrote down while you were talking, what's the commander's intent like. What are we trying to do here? Because if you can't tell me what it is, why we're going to do what we're doing, then we need to talk about it more.


Yeah, that that's number one. And, you know, as you just put it, the reason why why are we doing something? Why are we doing it? And by the way, I tell people all the time, if you work for me and we're doing something that you don't know why we're doing it, you raise your hand and you say, hey, why the hell are we doing this? And I say, well, here's why. And you say, well, that doesn't make any sense.


I go, Please explain that to me then, so I can make a better decision, because if if I can't get my team on board, then I must be I must not be seeing something or I'm not explaining my perspective well enough that they can go, oh yeah, I got it. Well, thank you.


We now understand that. Thank you. That's number one.


Number two. So when you fire off this article, is that a good tactical move for you?


In other words, you know, would it may may it have been a better move to say, listen, I need to talk to you? You tell your friend the the first lady's chief of staff, listen, I want some clarification. I don't want to get crazy here. But look, I just got back from Iraq a few years ago. It gets bad. It gets ugly. We got to make sure we know what we're doing. Can can we have a further conversation?


Because no one seems to be listening to me right now. And it's a problem.


I chose to take that public course of action because I had just gone through days of internal discussions, Q&A, expressions of concern, and essentially expressed all of those same points of opposition internally to members of the administration and saw that nothing was nothing was breaking through and that the answers that they were delivering were pretty canned and set and that there was not there was not really an interest of of a discussion or a response like of introspection saying, hey, maybe we're missing something here and or maybe we're not communicating clearly or, you know, it was just like, this is it?


This is what we're doing and the why. Like, why? What are you trying to accomplish? Well, we need to send a message, OK, send a message. And then what?


Like you can like communications, a two way street. I can send you a message, but if if I want that message to be effective, I need to anticipate how you might respond. And so there was I chose the course of action that I chose purely because I felt I had exhausted, um, internal or maybe kind of back channel means of addressing those concerns, it seems like.


What did you also sort of had already done an assessment to think like these people don't listen. Yeah, this wasn't this wasn't just one day you decide, you know what, that's it. I'm going to fire off this article. It's a pre-existing condition. That is when people say, hey, I got an issue with this. We get told, shut up, get get on board with the program. That's what we're going to do. So you'd already experienced that?




So, I mean, this this in this specific situation, it was not so there were other Democrats who who shared these concerns and Republicans who share these concerns and that were raising these questions within the hearings, both both public and closed, um, hearings. So it wasn't like, hey, we expect everybody to like there was not a pressure coming from the Democratic leadership in this example saying, hey, we expect you to toe the line on this and just support this because it's President Obama.


So this was not that kind of situation. There are other examples of that, but. Yeah, it just it was clear, it was clear that the message that was coming from the administration was was really it was kind of a one way communication. And and so I knew enough to know that when when they are they're kind of locked and loaded in their position. The only thing that may cause them to change or to budge is public pressure. Mm hmm.


And that's ultimately what happened is the public pressure was bipartisan and and reached such a volume that they never even brought the vote to Congress because they knew it would be an abject failure. And and the the the military action never happened.


And Obama got criticized for that because I don't know if you remember, but he this was like this was a red line.


Right. Like, OK. And he got vastly criticized by Republicans. And I think some Democrats like how how dare you not enforce your own red line? And I still you know, I think this was one of ultimately the final decision that he made.


I it was the right decision because because of all the reasons that I felt it was the wrong decision to make in the first place.


But also it forced him to take a diplomatic path to resolve the issue that he was trying to address, um, which is, you know, like maybe that should have been your first first primary course of action. Don't paint yourself into a corner. Yeah, exactly. Just like don't don't put yourself in a situation in a combat scenario where you can't maneuver. Don't do that.


Don't don't put your don't don't put your back against a cliff where you can't go anywhere else. Yes. Don't don't don't do that. It's not a good move. It's not a good tactical move. It's not a good strategic move. You know, this this whole thing, when I when I ask you these questions, one of the things that. Well, you're going to. I know. I know. You just told me you read an about face right now.


Well, the crux of about spoiler alert in about face, he ends up at the end of the Vietnam War. It's not the end. The Vietnam War. It's the end of his Vietnam War. He goes and gets interviewed and says, we're going to lose if we don't change the way we're fighting. And of course, he gets drummed out of the army in a matter of months. You know, it's all bad.


And the question that I always kind of consider is, well, if he would have kept his mouth shut, he would have had you know, he would have had a brigade, he would have had a division. He would have had the influence of all many, many more soldiers and much more strategy and and could have perhaps steered the war in a better direction. If he would have played the game more now there's an emotional component to it, which is completely understandable, which is that Hackworth absolutely loved the army and he loved his soldiers and he was seen soldiers get killed and wounded every single day.


And he got to a point where he was unacceptable to him. We had a similar thing, you know, that you and I were talking about with General Mattis. And at what point, you know, if General Mattis, who's so highly respected and just smart and and. And. Resolute in his beliefs and and kind of unflappable. So it was really nice when he got appointed. I was so happy. I'm like, OK, we got some sanity going on here.


We got somebody that's that's rational, right. Very rational guy.


And at one point it's over. And then you wonder, OK, look, I know it sucked and I know you didn't like it, but don't you have more influence when you're sitting in the seat?


That's that's an issue that people leaders have to deal with on all different levels. You know, I talk about a lot in leadership strategy and tactics, not a lot, but I write a section about it. If you're my boss and you tell me, hey, Jack, why don't you do this mission here? And I say, well, I don't think it's a good mission and I think it's going to cause casualties. I don't think it's got a good strategic objective or and you say I JoCo, you do what I told you and I say, but, hey, you know, ma'am, it doesn't seem like a good plan to me.


And you say, hey, Jack, shut up and do it. Now, I can either draw a line in the sand and say I'm not going to do it. And then what do you do? You fire me. You put that in charge and echo goes. Goes and does it because he's just a yes man. So I've given up all my influence at that point, which is not good.


There's a scene in Band of Brothers Dick Winters who gets ordered to do a reconnaissance. It's the end of the war.


And he goes, I don't really think that's a good idea. The colonel says, shut up and do it. He goes, OK, he goes and does it. They get a guy killed. They come back the next night. The colonel says, I want to do another recon tomorrow night. And Dick Winter says, I don't think that's a good idea. The war is almost over. We lost a guy yesterday and he goes, shut up and do it.


And he says, Roger that, sir. And they go to a basement and they drink wine. What you see on the recon, we didn't see anything. OK, good.


You know, he he went along with it, but he still had some control. And this is just a hard thing. And it's it's interesting to hear your perspective of, you know, at some point you make a stand and that's where you decided to make a stand. And obviously you lose some influence. After you did that, you lost some you know, I don't know if how many invites you got to those dinners after that.


It's probably not a number. So you give up some influence, but at the same time, you're you're holding the line on what you believe in. And at some point you've got to do that. I mean, at some point you go, look, Tulsi, I don't care. You want me do this mission. It's a bad idea. We shouldn't do it. And if you've got to fire me, fire me. Yeah, and maybe that's me just trying to send you a message.


Maybe you say, oh, jeez, Choco's, really serious.


I must really have a bad I must really have a bad perspective of what I'm trying to get this guy to do because he's never said no to me and now he's saying no to me. All right, JoCo, tell me your reasons again. And now we can have a conversation. Tough, tough.


Those are tough things for leaders to do.




And that then there if you I would say this is especially true in politics, but I think it's probably applicable across the board is if you know. What you are trying to accomplish ultimately, what's the greater goal and your goal is not about self-preservation if your goal is not selfishly motivated, but instead, um, you know, how how can I serve this this greater purpose that you're obviously there to do, then you're able to more. Unemotionally and clearly assess, OK, here, I've got three different options here.


Here's where this one leads. Here's where that one leads. Here's where that one leads and assess, OK, what what really ultimately what is going to help me get help, get me closer to that thing that I'm trying to accomplish. And I've I've gone through many, many iterations of this as I've made different decisions that had very serious political consequences, and that especially the big ones were were very often the unpopular decision that people kind of scratch their head like what what is wrong with her?


Like, she's she's she's going and doing things that nobody does.


She's going and saying things that nobody will say, is she crazy or just stupid or what?


But if you take a step back, you know, really.


Who am I accountable to and what is my purpose, if my purpose is to be a part of the, um, to seek the approval of of the elite in Washington, then I would have made completely different decisions completely from the from the get go and I would have done very different things.


But if my accountability is to and it is and has been to the people who elected me to serve, if my accountability is to our brothers and sisters in uniform, both of those who continue to serve, those who have laid down the uniform and those who have paid the ultimate price.


Then I'm making my decisions through a different lens and a different context than folks are used to in Washington, and it's not to say like, hey, I'm just going gangbusters.


I'm going to go run through a frickin brick wall no matter what the consequence. And it is being clear eyed about, OK, here, here, here are the potential ramifications to this. And sometimes they are known and sometimes they are an unknown factor.


But ultimately, these major decision points that I have come across, um.


Do the right thing if you don't if you don't know and you're not sure and all of these that like ultimately do the right thing because it's the right thing. And even even as you may get, you know, um, the you know, the political fire or the negative consequences, are these other things like ultimately, whether it takes a little time or it takes a long time, doing the right thing is always the right thing. And I'm you know, I'm I'm able to know that wherever my path goes, I've done my best to make that best decision when faced with hard right, easy, wrong.


The I used to tell my guys, if you're doing the right things for the right reasons, you we will win in the end. So if we're doing the right things for the right reasons, we'll win in the end.


Now, what's interesting about this is, you know, you on certain occasions, to some extent, you didn't play the game right. And as you just said, you know, you played the game sometimes and you did what you had to do and form those relationships. And then sometimes you didn't play the game. And this is what's interesting in that this is where the future is unknown. Where does that lead? If you were doing the right things for the right reasons, which you were, ultimately you'll win in the long run.


I don't know what that looks like yet.


Right. At some point, I know it's it's like a big gamble, right.


Because we could paint an entire entirely different picture of Tulsi that went to Washington, played the game, said the right things, vote the right votes, nodded the head, and you'd be in a different spot than you are right now.


You'd be you could potentially I mean, from your trajectory, when you look at you in two thousand, is that when you showed up 2012, when you showed up in 2012, your trajectory was steep.


And like you said, you checked various boxes that needed to be checked.


And if you were to play the game that whole time, you could be in a position where you could be president right now. You could be president right now, having conformed to what you were being told to do, now, we don't know where this actually ends up, right? Because it's it's 20, 20. We don't know where this ends up. Maybe people will be listening to this and twenty, thirty nine or whatever, they'll be going.


Oh, yeah, Joko called. Joko called that you do the right things for the right reason to look at how it turned out that could potentially happen.


But of course a bunch of other things you happen to. But it's, it's something that we have to struggle with as leaders doing if but if I still believe this and I tell people this all the time, if you're doing the right things for the right reasons, you're going to win in the end.


In the end, you are going to win. Yeah, it might take years. It might take I guess it could take decades when you're talking about this these types of decisions.


But the other component of this is which I think in my just just from sitting here looking at you as you're talking about this. You every day have to look yourself in the mirror. Yep, and at a certain point you say, mm hmm, I'm not going to do that. And again, look, there's I always tell people play the long play the long game, think strategic. I tell people I would say when people ask me, oh, I got some situation at work, and my boss told me, do this all the time.


I'd give the I give you advice to play the game. Oh, Tulsi wants me to do this paperwork and she's been yelling at me to do it. And it doesn't make any sense for me to do this paperwork. I tell you, have to do the paperwork and play the game, build a good relationship with you so you can actually talk to her in the future and explain why that paperwork doesn't make sense. Right.


Play the game until you get to a point where you've got to look at yourself in the mirror and you can't and then you're not doing the right thing and you're not doing it for the right reasons and you've got to make a different decision.


Yeah. Yeah, I that's exactly right, and in order to do that, it's being able to have not lost your foundation and your groundedness so that you have the ability to be introspective and to know what actually matters versus the things that that don't really matter, which help you determine which battles am I going to pick to fight.


And also, um, what what is winning? How do you define winning? Is it is it a specific title or is it a specific position or when you say do the right things for the right reasons and at some point in time, sooner or later, you're going to win for me? In my case, that that's that is 100 percent true.


I think what, um, I mean, maybe it's not obvious to people is winning is not becoming president. The United States winning is not becoming a United States senator or a member of Congress or an ambassador or whatever. Pick pick the job, pick the crappy job.


You have a different perspective than most people in Washington who live their lives from college to try to strategically plan their lives to get these jobs.


Yeah, except for the fact that, you know, winning, you know, look, if you're the president, you have a massive you have the most amount of influence that you could possibly have.


I used to tell that to these young civil officers. It's like, oh, you're going to kiss ass to get promoted. Well, if you kiss ass, quote, to get promoted, guess what? You can take better care of your troops, which is why you're here. Right. That's why we're here to take care of our team, be able to accomplish the mission. So sometimes it's like, oh, those those are aligned winning.


When I'm a platoon commander instead of a E5 in a platoon, I have more influence over that situation so I can do a better job of the mission. I can do a better job attacking the enemy and I can do a better job of taking care of the guys that work for me. That's all good. And you know what?


I had to sit through some meetings and I had to nod my head and I had to support my whatever commanding officer or my master chief when they told me to do something that didn't quite make sense. But I did it. Why not? So I could get promoted. That's the big difference now, so I could get promoted and I never did. It was as you know, for me, it was such a it made my career so much easier because I never was worried about getting promoted.


I never cared if I got promoted and it actually helped. It helped because I was doing the right things for the right reasons. And my bosses will look at me and say, look, if this guy cares about the guys and he wants to get the mission done, let's get him promoted. Yeah, I wasn't doing it to get promoted. It just going to happen if you're doing the right things for the right reasons. So there's a weird dichotomy there.


No, winning isn't necessarily getting promoted or becoming the president or whatever the case may be. But if you're looking to have the most amount of influence, I take care of your people and your troops and your country and your nation. That's a really good spot to be in. And that that the order of that, I think, is the most important thing, because too often in politics, people get so attached to the position or the title and their their entire identity is wrapped around that, whether they have it or it is their ambition to achieve that position or title that they forget that the real goal is being in a position of impact and influence where you can serve and make that positive impact.


And that's where for me, even from when I ran for State House through the different political positions that I've had, like I had no issue and no qualms about walking away from what was beginning was the beginning of some would say would be an illustrious political career as as a twenty one year old elected to the state house when it came for that decision point. Are you going to stay? Are you going to go? I went because I wasn't losing anything in, like, people.


Oh, you're going to give up this political career. You've only just begun.


I'm not giving up anything. I am only choosing at this point to serve in a different way. And I think that's where we look at when I've thought about, OK, well, you know, winning winning is being in that position of impact and influence. And and maybe at some point it does take that form of, you know, serving in elected office in a high position where I can execute on that. Or maybe it takes a different form or a different shape, you know, for the time being or for for whatever it is, it's staying the order of that staying focused.


OK, this is the goal and the position and the platform that I may have at a different point in time to accomplish that goal doesn't change the goal.


Did you underestimate the power of the swamp?


Maybe a little bit, but I think even yeah, I would say yeah, I mean, the power of the political infrastructure and the party system and how much money, you know, there are limits.


Like if I'm if when I ran for president, ran for Congress, there are limits. Like if you wanted to make a political contribution to me, you know, the limit changes every election. But let's say it's two thousand dollars. That's all you can give.


There's no there's no real limit to what you can give to either political party. So if you wanted to write a two million dollar check, you could do that. No problem.


And so if you look at the balance of power, that gives the political parties a heck of a lot of power to to leverage over a specific candidate or a specific incumbent and to use as using the power plays that are you so that that was something that that I came into and I think was was unexpected.


So just to clarify this, I can give two thousand dollars to Tulsi for Congress. Right. But I can give two million dollars to the Democratic or two hundred million or whatever.


Yep. And therefore the party has that money. Yes. And now they can dole it out to the people that are playing ball with the program that are playing the game. Yeah.


And it's a little surprising to you.


I was a little surprised that how much control they had and seeing it play out literally on the House floor when votes or votes are happening or what is about to happen, it's like, hey, where is this member of Congress?


I heard he or she is thinking of voting with Republicans. We need to find them and talk to them and get them in line. And they say and there are actual jobs like, I don't know, have you seen House of Cards?


The. Yeah, you're fine. Don't don't worry about it.


But but it's featured in this show House of Cards, the, um, the main character, he kind of starts out he's a member of Congress and he is the whip. And the position is literally called the whip. And, um, that's their job is they whip votes. Mm. Mhm.


And so if somebody is so I go to you and I say, hey Tulsi, I know you're kind of wavering on this vote, but it looks like you've got a tough race coming up there in Hawaii. Could use some extra TV advertisement, don't you think. Yeah, it's like that. Like that's how it is. Yeah. Kind of, or that's how it works. It tastes different. Sometimes it can be very direct like that.


This is so this is something that that I have not personally, directly been the target of because they knew partially because I I got elected without any help from the Democratic Party locally or nationally.


Um. There was no fundraising help. There was no hey, we're going to push you know, it was a primary election and generally they don't get involved in primary elections. It's not it's not a rule that's always followed. But in my case it was. And because it's such a strong democratic state, generally, they'll use their resources to help Democrats get elected or re-elected in swing districts or Republican districts. If they're like Tulsa, you're good.


Like we don't got to worry about you. In my case, then that also means there's no leverage from them. But I have friends who I've served with who are in those positions where, you know, a re-election in a congressional race like they've got to raise 10 million, 20 million bucks, which is, you know, in my race, I think I raised I raised about, I don't know, a little over a million dollars. Um, so for them, there is a lot of leverage and it's used it's certainly used to to try to get you as a member of Congress to do what what is best for the party rather than what you believe is the right thing to do based on your conscience and based on how you feel you can best serve your district.


What's the percentage that they're able to wield that sledgehammer effectively? Like how much control?


I mean, it's it's it's pervasive.


And so that's one example is, hey, you've got it. You're always you you've got a tough re-election or a tough race or a tough challenger, whatever. That's one approach. And the other approaches people who are interested in climbing the the ladder.


And so you will either have a cherry opportunity placed before you or maybe you won't have that opportunity presented or it'll be taken away.


So, you know, it's kind of like, you know, they'll look at, OK, what does this person want and what do they need and how can we use that as a motivator to try to get them to do what we want them to do. And so this is the imbalance that needs to be corrected in our political system, where this idea of, hey, anybody can go and run for Congress. And I know that my member of Congress is always going to go and act in my best interest as a voter has unfortunately become so twisted into this thing that is about one party versus the other party.


And it's always about the next election and how they can battle and who is going to win rather than how do we work together and actually solve problems and pass meaningful legislation.


And I you know, again, early on, you know, there were there were some Republicans Obamacare. Right. Hugely divisive issue politically that's been weaponized by both sides. The issue of health care and there were some Republicans we found like, hey, here are some easy fixes.


This was this was that was elected in 2012. Obamacare was passed in 2010. And so, you know, there are some Democrats and Republicans. We started to say, hey, guys, let's let's figure out what we can do together like this is we're here in Congress.


This is why we are here. And there were some easy kind of very simple common sense corrections that we could make it through legislation to this bill that are no brainers, like not not controversial at all. Commonsense, no brainer. Exactly. OK, sounds good. Good. I like it.


And how that works out, it turns out that both party leadership, um, indirectly expressed opposition to this idea and what we were talking about doing on the Democratic side, because it would require that they would have to admit that the bill had some flaws that needed fixing and on the Republican side, opposed to it, because if you fix Obamacare, then what do you run against?


What do you criticize the other side for?


If you actually fix it in a way that it it helps people and if people start to like it, then you can't raise money off of it and you can't weaponize it for political purposes.


And that's that.


That was twenty thirteen. And unfortunately here we are in twenty, twenty one and it has only. It progressively escalated and gotten far worse, far divisive to the point where, as we sit here today, you have the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, referring to Republicans as, quote unquote, the enemy within. The enemy within and the implications of that, like the actual legitimate implications of that war, is when you make that statement that you do not trust people from the opposing party broadly.


She's not saying, hey, this one person I feel is a threat to our security and needs to be reported to law enforcement. That's a different story.


If that if that were the case, we have systems in our government to do that.


If you think a member of Congress poses a security threat to their colleagues, report it to law enforcement, do it.


But to throw this out in a public setting, I think it was a press conference. You said that that they are the enemy within and other Democrats saying, I don't feel safe around my Republican colleagues. What you're saying is that if any member at any Democrat goes and tries to have a conversation with or reach out to or work with a Republican, they are working with the enemy. They are collaborating with the enemy. They are now traitors. To who, I mean, to the country, to Democrats.


Where does that then lead and how is there any possibility of. Healing and unifying and reaching out to get past the inflammatory, divisive state that we are in. OK, so we got that going for us. It seems like I didn't track every move that you made, but certainly one of the, uh, if not at least from what I know, the biggest kind of move that you made that was outside the system is when you went against Hillary in 2016 for for president.


Mm hmm. Is that is that was that the straw that broke the camel's the big one.


That was the big one.


Yeah. And that was one of those that was one of those big decision points that I had, um, where I couldn't I couldn't map out what the actual consequences to that decision would be.


So you knew. I knew. I knew. No, I knew. I obviously knew it was it was a serious decision that would have serious implications.


But exactly what those implications would be, I didn't I didn't know, um, I had different political advisers and people who. You know, who knew Washington and who knew me, giving me very serious warning and just saying, look, Tulsi, this could be the end of the political road for you potentially.


So just know that before you make this decision and and just just to back up a little bit, why the back story that led to my making that decision was I was still vice chair of the DNC at that point. And as an officer of the DNC, the rules say you have to be neutral in a primary election, that the DNC role is to make sure that the primary election process is executed in a fair and a fair way so that voters have the opportunity to make their decision on who they would like to be the Democratic nominee to become the United States.


And so that was like, OK, I'm going to make sure that I fulfill that responsibility and make sure that our democratic process works in in this primary. And I had no plans to get involved in the race at all. And there are you know, there were a number of you know, this wasn't the reason why I ultimately made the decision. But there were a number of issues that started to, um, present themselves in seeing that the chair of the DNC at that time was making unilateral decisions about how the primary process would work.


That made it very clear that it would not be fair or neutral and that those the process decisions that were being made would favor Hillary Clinton over any other candidate. And I and other officers of the DNC expressed privately and then our concerns and opposition to the fact that, like, hey, we're off to the DNC. You're asking us to attach our names to a decision that you as the chair made. But we had absolutely no discussion or input to it whatsoever.


And I'm not comfortable doing that. And then I'm seeing there was no it was kind of like, OK, no, like, I don't care. I don't care. The decision's been made and that's it. And then airing some of those concerns publicly for the purpose of trying to bring some accountability and transparency to the process. And just to just to two examples. One was limiting of the initial decision that that the chairman made or the chairwoman made was there would only be six debates in the primary election.


And to me, that was ridiculous. Like there had never been so few debates ever. And why why that number of debates mattered was because of the second decision that was made, which was if any candidate participated in a non DNC sanctioned debate or forum, they would be banned from participating in any future DNC debate. So you'd be punished for actually seeking out opportunities to talk to voters.


Both of those decisions seemed pretty undemocratic to me.


While we're standing here saying, hey, we want we want high voter turnout. We want people to engage in the process. You want people to engage with the candidates. But we're only going to allow six debates. And if they do any debate or forum that's not one of our six, then they won't be able to come and play with us at all because Hillary had such good name recognition.


Every one of these debates would be an opportunity for someone else to get more name recognition. Yeah. And challenge her track record.


I mean, actually, God forbid, have a real dialogue and conversation and and a compare and contrast for voters on each of you know, I mean, obviously Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were kind of the two primary candidates, but there were a few others who were still running at that time. Martin O'Malley was one. He's the governor of Maryland.


And and, um, so so that that was kind of already happening. But ultimately, as as this process started to to begin, I saw how even in these limited debate settings, how little attention was being focused by the Democratic Party as well as their their corporate media partners on foreign policy and on the qualifications. That voters may look for in a commander in chief and what that responsibility meant, it was just not it was you know, they were talking about a bunch of other things, most most things that to me, like superficial political drama and theater, like not issues that really mattered a whole lot when you look at the implications on people's everyday lives.


But as a soldier, obviously, for me, like this is the most well, it's not just as a soldier.


The most important responsibility that that any president has is to serve as commander in chief.


You know, our Constitution very clear, like I can have all the economic positions I want and positions on education and positions on health care. As president, I can't do anything of of great interest without working with Congress. And that's I mean, that's the it's the check and balance that our our our founders had in mind for us, which is a good thing.


But there's only one commander in chief and it.


Ultimately drove me to resign as vice chair of the DNC and and endorsed Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton because I saw a huge gap and difference contrast between the two of them and in Hillary Clinton's very interventionist kind of war, hawk, warmonger, track record, both as secretary of state and as a U.S. senator versus Bernie Sanders, who threw his time in service, had proven to have more of a non-interventionist leaning and be a little bit more critical in questioning of any rush to war.


And, you know, on a whole host of other issues, I didn't you know, Bernie and I agree or disagree on a number of other issues, but this was the singular issue that I made my decision on to to resign as vice chair of the DNC and endorsed Bernie Sanders so that I would have a platform to start to push, to be a voice, to push this question and to challenge the media and to bring to voters. Here's the differences between the two major candidates in this primary.


You get to decide what kind of commander in chief you want.


And so, um, that was you know, I announced that decision on Sunday show Meet the Press there in Washington, went to the studio, didn't tell them really what I was there to announce. It was I intentionally kept this to myself, very, very close hold. Knowing how incestuous the relationships are between politicians and the media and attempts to try to undermine my ability to deliver my message for myself.


And so they're probably like two people in my life who knew what I was going to do. I went live television Sunday morning, shared my decision and why, and then my phone started ringing off the hook.


Literally, I'm in the car rolling away from the studio.


But the most stark response I got was and they ranged from like Tulsi, that was a brave and righteous decision to like you.


Yeah, exactly. And that's what it was. That was Sunday. And then I think it was either Monday or Tuesday. We had votes and we went back into session in Congress and and both Democrats and Republican colleagues of mine were kind of coming up and patting me on the back and saying that, like, nice knowing you have a good afterlife.


And even some Democrats who who had, like, endorsed Obama over Hillary in 2008 early, like from the beginning, and who shared like, hey, like, I I made that decision and I was on the Clinton shit list for years before I was able to dig myself out of it.


And Tulsi, don't you know that she's going to win and you're going to be on the list and that there is a list? And what that means in a practical way is you don't get your bill signed into law. You don't get funding for the things that you need or that your constituents need in your district and that your efforts, the reason why you were here in the efforts that you are putting forward will be will be blocked. And so you're rendering yourself ineffective.


Because she will be president, and that was that was the Washington response, basically are politically dead.


Um, you you knew that, though, right? Yeah, I, I knew I was it was like I chuckled as people told me this. I was there was nothing there was nothing that I heard the morning after that did that surprise me.


I knew that the right kind of feel like a bad ass. When you walked into Congress on Monday, did you not bat or did you feel like an idiot?


No, neither. Neither. I was I was I was amused at, like, the hushed air.


For real. For real. For real. No joke. And like, the sideways glances like, is it OK to go and talk to her now or not?


And like, I don't want to be, you know, like thought to be, I don't know, part of whatever she's doing, like, I don't know, like there's all these different things that.


And how about the fact that now, like whoever told you, hey, now all the things you're going to try to do are going to get squashed. You're not going to able to make any progress here. That's a real thing.


And so, again, going back to this strategic decision making, if you're trying to take care of your constituents and you make the worst enemy that you can have in D.C., that's not good.


Well, what what what ended up happening, obviously, is she did not win the election and some of those very same people who remain good friends of mine, who were being honest with me then saying you're politically finished, then came back to me later and said, well, turns out you saw something that nobody else saw at that time.


So, you know, kudos to you for standing up for your principles and what you believe in and listening to both your heart, but also recognizing where people in the country are rather than listening to the echo chamber within Washington.


And yeah, so so at that point, you got a little clout back.


Yeah. Yeah, but it's all it's all in the eye of the beholder, really. I mean, there are there's unquestionable that a lot of the the challenges that I that I faced as I was running for president, um, can be traced back to that original sin.


And just how how deep, you know, yeah, there were certainly ramifications.


But also, um, it was I mean, I had the opportunity to to raise the issues that I ran for Congress to raise and to bring them to the forefront and to get conversations starting about, you know, the issues of war and peace and and when do when is it right to send our troops into battle and what questions should we be asking as leaders in this country before we make that decision and recognize like I'm not a pacifist, I'm not a peacenik.


I I care and have dedicated my adult life to that that service to protecting our national security, the safety of the American people. I am just pushing to make sure that we have leaders in this country who recognize the seriousness of.


Of life and death, of war and peace and when war may be actually necessary and warranted and knowing that our troops have volunteered to go, knowing that that may mean sacrificing of their own lives and all of the sacrifices that our loved ones and families make and don't think twice about it. That's what we signed up for, to serve our country.


But also knowing that sometimes the tougher decision to make is to not go to war. The harder decision may be recognizing that even as there may be a problem that that we want to solve in the world. That sometimes it requires more strength and courage to recognize a problem we can't solve. Be it. Trying to do so would not serve our national security interests or the interests of of the American people, and therefore recognizing that the right answer may be to do not do anything.


So so really, that's the other part of the strategic move, is strategically it's going to make you harder and it's going to make your job harder in some respects after you execute this move on on Hillary. But at the same time, it's going to bring these important issues to light. So strategically, there's an advantage and a disadvantage. Yes. And you wait them out and said, you know what, if I don't bring these subjects to light, no one is going to do it.


I could not. I could not.


I was not OK with sitting on the sidelines and watch this.


Every presidential election is important. There's not a single way. Every every election like this is the most important election of our lifetimes. Every single one is important. And I could not live with myself if I had chosen to sit on the sidelines and let this whole thing play out without doing my very best to insert these most important questions and issues and contrasting of records into the dialogue and conversation so that voters would have the ability to make the best informed decision possible.


So then you decide you're going to run. When is that that's what when do you figure that out? When do you figure out? When do you say to yourself, you know what, I need to run for president?


The. The event that triggered, um, the event that ultimately led to my making, that decision was the happened in January of twenty eighteen and it was I'm sure you remember this echo, but it was, um, went on a Saturday morning. We got a text alert sent out to every cell phone in the state. Civil defense alarms sounding, saying missile in coming to Hawaii, seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill. And the aftermath of that where immediately we're thinking like I've been working the issue related to North Korea for a very long time, for obvious reasons that North Korea is continuing to develop their nuclear capabilities.


They're developing their intercontinental ballistic missile range capabilities, miniaturize nuclear warheads that that not only could reach Hawaii, but could reach a significant portion of the mainland at that time in twenty eighteen. Now, they have continued to develop that and they can reach anywhere in the country. But this is the scenario that's playing out. Get this message. North Korea's is sending, you know, a nuclear missile to us, which means we have 15 minutes to live.


I was in D.C. when this happened, you know, of my loved ones, my family, everyone is in Hawaii and what happened there was absolutely terrifying where, you know, there was a video that came out after it was an iPhone video that that this this father took as he lowered his little eight year old girl. I think she was about eight years old, down a manhole, telling her that this is the only place you'll be safe. And with the camera saying, like, if I don't make it, you know, at least I want you to be OK.


There are countless, countless stories of people that I heard from after this event happened about about what they went through in, you know, there was a guy who he had like he had one of his kids that was in town, another kid that was on the west side of the island.


And why and I and he was somewhere in the middle and in that moment got that message trying to decide which am I going to drive to town or drive to and which of my kids am I going to try to get to to spend those last minutes of my life with?


You know, mother's gone in the bathtub, like seek shelter, seek immediate shelter. Everyone's like, where do I go? Friend of mine. He's got like a ton of kids, I don't know, six or seven kids. He just started driving to the mountains, like, I just got to go find a cave somewhere. And but but there is no shelter. There's no shelter. And so you got this fancy alert system and like, OK, it's blasting out, seeking shelter, there is there is no shelter.


What what ended up happening in those minutes that followed? For me, as soon as I got that notification on my phone, I'm in D.C. I like, holy shit, what is happening.


I need to figure out what's happening. And so I just started, like, going through, OK, I know that I can probably try to reach into PACOM like command cell.


I don't have they don't bring cell phones in the building, so that's a problem. I ended up the first person I called was our state adjutant general, who I knew if something was happening, he was going to be at that civil defense command and he would obviously know. And so I called him and I said, what's going on? He's also my boss in the National Guard.


So, you know, do dual dual hatted there. But I called him and I said, what's going on? And very quickly, he said, it's a false alarm. I said, I'm going to put this out publicly, you're telling me this is a false alarm? And he said somebody pushed the wrong button, false alarm. So there's no missile coming in, no missile coming in. So I immediately hung up with him, typed out a tweet in big block letters.


This is a false alarm. I have confirmed with authorities there is no missile incoming.


And that tweet was the first public notification that went out, um, that let people know what was going on. But, you know, I just I was on the phone cause I was calling news stations, radio stations, you know, people were calling me and I just literally I was just like, false alarm click, false alarm click. Just trying to get let people know what was going on. And there's a whole other, you know, like incompetence thing.


Like there was no official notification to the public coming from the state government until thirty eight minutes after that initial alert was sent out. And that was a that was a whole other issue. But the thing that led me ultimately to make that decision to start thinking about I need to run for president is because of what everyone went through in realizing that you can have this fancy alert system. And I'm sure the governor and other people are all bunkered down somewhere safe, but there's no safety or shelter for anyone else.


And ultimately. The fact that. People, the fact that this is a real threat that exists. And there are others that politicians have created or escalated through political rhetoric of heightening tensions with nuclear armed countries, of spurring a nuclear arms race and knowing like, OK, you know, I'm sure there's probably some some mechanism or system in place to protect them and their families.


But what about everybody else in the country, people who, um, I mean, nuclear war ends in utter, complete destruction of the world, ultimately, and.


Having gone through what we went through, I wanted to be in a position to do two things by running for president, I could raise this issue and bring it to the forefront because nobody was talking about it. Maybe there was a day of of, you know, CNN coverage or whatever on what happened in Hawaii. But then it was it was completely dropped and forgotten. There was no like, hold on a second. So wait, North Korea has these capabilities.


They're continually increasing. This threat is real. There is no shelter.


Like if we get attacked, then it's kind of it's game over what what's being done about this by the leaders and that none of that happened at all, even in the aftermath of something that was, you know, terrifying and in such a real way.


And so so to be able to address these issues and the existential threat that we face that comes from that continued advancement towards the brink of nuclear war, that that that we're on and if elected, to be in a position as commander in chief to begin to walk us back away from that brink and to actually do something about it, to deescalate these tensions, to actually work through the kinds of negotiations and treaties that previous presidents like, you know, Reagan and JFK did when they recognized the seriousness of what happens when you when you are in a Cold War and when you have nuclear armed countries who either intentionally or accidentally can spark a nuclear war that would would result in the end of of humanity on this planet.


And that was that was the driver for me to make that decision to run. And unfortunately, I very quickly found out that. Neither the media nor the politicians were interested in talking about it or anything that really mattered, that it was it was about who's saying bad things, about who which candidate is, um, you know, who looks cool, who's likeable, who's all of these superficial things. But whether it was on the debate stage, when I raise these issues or in interviews with reporters one on one or I mean, I talked about I talked obviously talked about these issues every day, multiple times a day, town hall meetings that reporters covered or were present for, at least with the intent to cover what happened.


There was no interest in in in talking about this specific issue about the existential threat of nuclear war and what how we got here and where we need to go to prevent it. What to speak of, of of other issues, and that was. There was the most frustrating that was the most frustrating thing about about running for president was the realization that even as a candidate for president, United States, um, the ability to bring such an issue as serious as this to the American people was so easily squashed by the corporate entertainment media and the politicians who benefit from them.


Corporate entertainment media. Yeah, that's that's a good name for the news.


It's more accurate than the news certainly is.


So you said you realized very quickly that that no one wanted to hear about this stuff.


Like when you say very quickly, how long did it take before you looked around and said, wait a second, because I remember hearing about you, maybe it was on Rogan.


I forget, but I remember thinking, oh, you know, that's cool. And it seemed to me, wow, what a I said, wow, what a viable candidate. That's interesting. And I remember seeing some polling and you were like two percent. And I said, oh, that's kind of weird. That's not a very big number at all. I was kind of surprised. And then maybe that was early on.


But at some point, you know, you were on Rogan again or I saw you in a debate or something. And I and I remember thinking, oh, I'm going to check that out again. She got to be at 30 or 40 percent now because the people that I know were kind of talking about her and I'd look and you'd be at two percent.


And I was it was very strange to me that you couldn't get you weren't getting any traction.


Was that weird to you? Because, I mean, you did the whole Hawaii thing where you were at two percent and then you went to 20 and then you won by twenty two. And here you are at two percent. You got no factor. I got this. Been here. Done that. Yeah. At what point did you say, oh, damn, this is a little harder than I thought it was going to be and was at the same realization as the media, doesn't the media and the news and the entertainment networks don't care about this stuff the way I do.


There there were different signs of that, um, the first of which started on the very day that I announced officially announced my candidacy, as in build the event, go up on the stage, deliver the speech, announcing my candidacy and why.


And I talked about the very thing that we talked about as far as where did you drive in Hawaii?


What was it? What where outside? Um, yeah, it was it was outside at in Waikiki. And, uh. You know, there were local and national media cameras there to cover it and, you know, a bunch of supporters and people came out while I was giving the speech. NBC News put out an article. Basically making the accusation that. I am I am somehow a favorite of the Russians are being helped by the Russians. They're talking they're saying nice things.


You know, it was that the article was so vague and baseless and lacking in any kind of evidence to back up the claim that they were making, that it was just it was just so out there. And I I knew that they were doing an article because they had called and asked for a comment like a few days prior and had said, you know, without knowing the extent of the completeness of the article. But they said, hey, you know what, I what do you think about this?


And and they said, OK, we're going to publish the article probably sometime next week, maybe Wednesday or Thursday. And I think I think that my announcement was on a Saturday, whatever day it was, they changed their schedule for when they were going to publish the article so that it came out on the day that they knew I'd be announcing my candidacy.


And their thing is like the Russians, like Tulsi, that's the that's the general and, you know, like Russian bots are like, you know, Russian state sponsored media.


The thing was, is, you know, I think they they said, oh, you know, there are a lot of articles that are proving that the Russians like her or something like that. But when you actually go and look at look at the articles they're citing, it's not accurate, first of all.


And second of all, it lacks the context of like, hey, they're actually just reporting that she's announced that she's running for president or lacks the context of, well, when Hillary and Obama ran against each other in 2008.


The Russian media reported much more favorably for Obama than Hillary, and so they chose a narrative and chose to launch it on day one of my candidacy, that Tulsi would be the Russian asset or the favorite of the Russians and planted that seed on day one you cited. Oh, you know, she's gotten donations from her campaign from people who favor Russia. And, you know, one happened to be like Ivy League professor and specializes in foreign policy and has talked about nuclear war for decades.


And, you know, one was a woman who was trying to promote, you know, diplomacy and actually building relationships between like at a grassroots level between American educators and Russian educators or business owners or whatever.


I mean, the it was just it was preposterous and very transparent, a transparent signal and move on day one so that. Yes. When did it start? That's when it started. And then, of course, it continued to progress and escalate. And I started to see both on the debate stage as the debate started to begin as well as you know you know, you and I talked earlier when you know you know, when you're going in to do an interview like a media hit, it's probably going to be four to five minutes long.


And, you know, you go in there knowing what you want to talk about, regardless of the question that they ask you, because, you know, you got like, you know, two sentences.


Exactly. And so this this was why I was running for president. So I took every opportunity to raise it on every platform possible. And there were no follow ups. There was there was no like, oh, hey, like, let's dig deeper into this issue, which is clearly very serious. No, none of that. It was like, well, you know, what do you think about this or what do you think about Trump or what do you think about this, like superficial drama and a conscious choice away from actually talking about what mattered most and that, you know, Hillary Clinton weighed in on the thing when when she said that I forget the exact words, but basically the Russians have chosen their candidate and without saying my name, said it was me.


And that was then covered by the media incessantly, which is like crazy.


It is. It is. And it was a signal in and of itself like, why would why would the former secretary of state, former presidential candidate, former U.S. senator, former first lady, go out of her way to place the target on me?


And why can't the Russian bots do better than two percent for the polls?


Are the Russian bots are so freaking powerful, why can't they run up your numbers a little bit for.


Yeah, yeah, not not so much. But it it it eventually got to the point where not like the coverage that I got ended up largely being negative attempts to smear my candidacy or question my patriotism and my loyalty is so out of the gate.


I mean, is this is this a grand conspiracy where they're like, oh yeah, totally. She ran against Hillary in 2016. Get ready. We're putting her down it. I certainly appeared that.


And on top of that, hey, Tulsi, we can't control her. This isn't going to work. We don't want someone that we can't control. Put her down. It certainly appeared that way because, um, that was if you look at the outcome, uh, it was the outcome that that I think they were looking for. And again, it started from the beginning, it ended up with a total, total media blackout by the end of it, polling standards changed to make it so that, you know, it's like, OK, here, that they say, hey, you got to pull out a certain level in order to qualify for the debate and then qualify for the next debate.


And, you know, the polling standards often shifted based on where you were. Right. That's that's a little convenience to change it. Right. When I start inching up in the polls a little bit more. But it also just points to like the catch twenty two that exists where in America we'd like to believe that anybody can run for president, anybody can run for office, and that it's up to the candidate to go and make your case to voters.


And voters actually get to decide.


Well, in these presidential races so early on, you can have very well-known candidates that everybody in the country has heard of and you can have lesser known candidates that most people have like no knowledge of whatsoever, or they start running these polls so early on that show a lesser known candidate like myself at one percent or two percent, whereas the better known candidates are polling much higher and then make the determination, well, Tulsi Gabbard is not a viable candidate because she's only polling at two percent.


And so we're not going to really cover her very much because we don't deem her as a viable candidate. And by we I mean the media and the political party. And so as a lesser known candidate than you're not covered as much as the better known candidate. So you don't have the opportunity to get better known. And so it's this, you know, self your self prophecy.


Yeah. Of we know who this person is.


We're going to keep covering. And it allows them to, um, it allows them to decide who who they want voters to be exposed to and who they don't believe deserves that kind of opportunity to be in front of voters. And so it's kind of a pre selection, a pre primary selection before before any vote is cast.


You have these very powerful people within the party and within the media who who make those decisions about who gets to be heard and who doesn't.


And that was what we experienced. And it was. It was such an incredible this was the thing I underestimated the most that I thought, hey, I can run for president and I can bring these ideas forward and I'm at a disadvantage because I'm not as well known as some of these other guys. But as long as I have the platform to be able to reach people, all I got to do is like all I got to do is do my best and trust that voters will make will make the decision.


I underestimated how very quickly and in a sustained way the media, the decisions were made to to not even allow that platform to exist, which left me in a pretty like a pretty helpless place, you know, I was yeah, I can live through my town hall on social media and I did. I can reach it. Maybe a few more thousand people in addition to the thousand who are sitting in the room. But when you look at the numbers in the country, you know, when they choose to not cover you and not allow you that platform, then, you know, it's not only not only was I not able to to raise the issues and address the issues that that are not just important to me, but important to our country, but also the the smear attempts and the negative coverage left me in a very helpless and vulnerable position where I couldn't fight back.


I did not have, you know, do not have the means even if I were a billionaire, which I'm not.


And I had a very, very, very skinny budget.


Our campaign was pretty much fueled by volunteers. And I love them so much. People who really believed and set aside school or jobs or life and when worked their hearts out to help me get my message out. But even if I were a well-funded candidate or a self-funded candidate, a billionaire, that I could go out and purchase ads and I could go out and buy my own platform. Essentially, if the media makes a decision to either not cover you or or to smear you and undermine, therefore undermine whatever it is you're saying and doing, it's it's, um.


It's difficult, if not impossible to beat, and I think this is so important to talk about because it is a charade of the democracy that we believe exists in this country.


And it's certainly a trait of the democracy that our founders set out for us in this incredible imbalance of power and influence that's in the hands of a very few who don't have the best interests of the country at heart.


So we also got that going for us. Yeah, and just to illustrate that, I mean, this guy who was the CEO of CBS, this is, I think, probably the most stark and direct example.


Les Moonves is his name.


And he this was this was. Yeah. I mean, this was in 20.


This was in twenty sixteen that he said something along the lines of Trump may be bad for the country, but he's good for business. The money is rolling in. Keep it up. Donald Trump. Keep it up. And his very direct statement illustrates everything that's wrong, because it shows that this corporate entertainment media, it's about the money. It's about the profits. It's about the rating with no regard whatsoever for.


What the consequence is for the country and for voters and for our future, and that is something very serious that we as people in this country need to understand, be aware of so that we can start to bring about kind of the culture and societal shifts that will ultimately result in, um, in change and making it so that, you know, these few powerful people don't get to usurp our democracy and our voices being the voices that matter most in determining who we want to serve as leaders in our country.


So with that, you see Donald Trump getting the you know, getting the nod from the Republicans, which many, many, many Republicans did not want him to be the candidate at all. Never Trump was. And and so that was a real thing, that there was a lot of people that a lot of Republicans that did not want and his Republican Party was not into him for much of the primary.




Like he was totally and actually somebody when we were on Rogan's together and I said something like, wow, you got really hammered more than I've seen anyone. And someone in the YouTube comments said, hey, idiot, what about Donald Trump? That's a good point. They hated him, apparently, as much as they hated you in the Democratic Party. How is it that he was able to pull it off? Does it does this is the Republican Party less controlling than the Democratic Party?


I don't know the answer to that specific question, but how is he able to pull it off? He was very famous and he had influence.


They couldn't black him out, they couldn't ignore him, and they were making a shit ton of money off of him because with Donald Trump brought eyeballs to their screens, whether it was Fox News who was initially, I think, maybe cynical or even critical of him, and then shifted to like full bore pro Trump, or if it was CNN and MSNBC who were, I think initially kind of like how is this even happening to full bore anti Trump, regardless in all of these scenarios and from the Democratic Party's perspective and the Republican Party's perspective with Trump came money.


Hmm. Democrats get to be the anti Trump Party and motivate a lot of people to give money to beat Trump or people who supported Trump in members of Congress or whatever. And Republicans got to raise a lot of money off of, hey, look, they're trying to attack us and they're trying to undermine what is going on. And we need your money and we need your help to be able to defend the party and defend the work or whatever it is so that.


How I think that that's what ultimately ended up I mean, it gave Trump a lot of exposure and yeah, some some of it or maybe a lot of it was was was was negative. But you look at how much the public hates politicians and how much they distrust and hate the media.


You know, you can kind of see how generally people who are frustrated and dissatisfied with the powerful elite, whether they be in politics or the media, would look at a guy and my friends like this, like they didn't really agree with anything that Trump was saying. They're like, finally, somebody is giving the middle finger to the media and telling them to shut up or whatever it was. Trump had influence and he was very well known and could not be ignored.


So at some point, does somebody come in to somebody come from the outside that's not as brash and not as offensive as Trump?


And would that not be a pretty. Would that not be easier or was it because he's so brash and because he's so freaking quotable, right, good or bad, he's just going to run. They're going to put they're going to put his quotes up all day long. If somebody comes along, that's from the outside. But that is actually less brash and more calm and more rational. Do they say, OK, it seems like that would be the perfect candidate right now, someone from the outside that can actually roll in and say, look, this system is totally screwed up.


We're going to like the idea of draining the swamp was a great quote that's got so many legs or so much legs. And of course, it didn't really happen. When you look at his administration, it was like, oh, yeah, more people from the swamp, more love. Exactly right.


But but when someone does this in a more from them. Better from a better like from a better position, it seems like this is what I'm getting at because I'm going to ask you.


Well, at some point, to reach a tipping point, it seems like the tipping point there. It just someone needs to step in and say, OK, we are going to actually drain out this swamp. We're going to actually get rid of this. These lobbies are going to get controls put on them. We're going to we're going to do things that are going to move this in the right direction. It seems like, as you said, Americans, a lot of Americans are looking at the political system going, you've got to be kidding me.


And look, you tell me stories earlier today before we hit record. It's it's sickening. It is. It's sickening. And so as that word gets out, it seems like America is ready to go. You know what? We're done with this shit over here.


And Trump was like the first guy that said, hey, I'll help you out. And so everyone went, cool, sounds good. You go raise hell, basically. Yeah.


If someone that says, yep, we're going to fix it, we're going to change it. I'm for change. I'm going to make things. It seems like we are right that I was. That's what I'm saying. I was going to ask you, will we reach a tipping point. It seems like we're already there. Trump was the guy that got elected based on saying, hey, we're going to drain the swamp. People voted for him to go and do that, like you said, people that you that you knew that didn't agree with any of his politics.


But he was change. He was different. He was going to throw it in the face of the system. That's what we were ready for. And it just so happens that the guy that threw it in the face, the system, also threw in the face of everybody that was around him.


I mean, just like a grenade going off, it's just people are getting hit and there's no direction to it. So it seems like we're actually ready for that.


What's it going to take to actually get someone there that's going to run? That's going to that that's that that the truth will come out? Doing the right things for the right reasons is going to win in the end.


Someone who has the. Resources and ammunition capable of going to battle with the existing political infrastructure and the corporate entertainment media.




That that's that's the match up because I agree. You know, there are there are more people who identify as independents in the country today than there are who people who identify as either Democrats or Republicans.


Really? Yes. Factually, factually. Echo. Charles, we get to use that word.


Yes. Or thinks that's factually true. We can look up. I mean, I've seen a variety and this has been trending in this direction for quite some time. This is not a new phenomena, but the numbers are consistently trending towards and maybe some of it's generational that that, you know, the millennial generation did not come up identifying like my daddy was a Democrat, my granddaddy was a Democrat. I got to be a Democrat.


I think there's there's less far less of that in the millennial and post-millennial generation. So I think that's part of it. People are looking more at issues than party. I think part of it is, is people recognizing and being disillusioned with with both political parties as not looking out for their best interests, that it's more about the party than the people. So I think there's a number of reasons for this, but it is a fact that it's over 40 percent of the country identify themselves as independent and therefore lesser numbers who identify as as one party or another.


So are the people ready for a strong leader who will come in and speak to what's in the best interests of the country rather than what's in the best interests of one party or another?


I would say yes, without a doubt.


So then the next question is how?


What is necessary to execute on that, what is necessary is is, first of all, recognizing, you know, where is the opposition coming from? The opposition will come from the people who are benefiting off the status quo.


And that is the existing two party system and the the the the entertainment media that that is in bed with them and it's not impossible. It's not insurmountable, but it's a pretty serious obstacle. And you got to be ready to go to battle with some of the most powerful people.


And so it would take a lot they would take a lot. And the third party thing is, what do you think is that? Is that dead on arrival?


Not dead on arrival? Not impossible. Very difficult, because I think it was it was back. And I forget, I think was the first time that Ross Perot ran for president was also when Bill Clinton was running for president.


And I think George H.W., if I'm not mistaken, I think you're right at a certain point.


Well, early on, though, early on, at a certain point, Ross Perot was polling higher than Bill Clinton. And I I believe George Bush as well.


And that like there like what is going like how is this possible? And had he continued his campaign at a certain point, Ross Perot dropped out of the race and then jumped back in a little bit later and he took a big hit for that ad.


And people probably like what? Like, do you not know what you want or like, what are you doing, buddy? But there are political pundits who say that if he had continued on, he you know, who knows, he may have become president or he may have posed a more serious threat in the end than he did. Ultimately, his numbers took a dive after he re-entered the race and he ended up kind of just being the perennial third party guy who stole votes.


Right. But it was after that election year that the rules started to change in making it with with agreement from both the Democrat and Republican Party that made it much more difficult for a third party candidate to get ballot access just to get their names on the ballot to be included in debates.


Just the basic infrastructure of a candidacy changed to the point where and it's still it's still exists today that the bar is much higher for a third party candidate to to be heard and to be on the ballot than it is for candidates who run under one party or or another. So that that that just again, not impossible. But from a practical perspective, as well as from a an exposure perspective, it's a much, much, much heavier lift that, again, requires a certain strategy and a hell of a lot of resources to be able to accomplish that.


So how long how long were you in the race for total? Um, I think I announced in February of 2019 and I withdrew from the race, I think in March, February or March of I think it was March of. Twenty, twenty. It was it was after covid had kind of already started, I was back in Hawaii, covid had started to take a pretty firm hold. Maybe it was even later than that.


And it just it got to the point where, like we're on lockdown at home in Hawaii, Congress had shut down. And I knew that the most effective use of my time at the outcome of the primary seemed somewhat inevitable at that point. And the most effective use of my time would be to focus on how I could best help with that. The response of covid in Hawaii. And, you know, I was calling trying to get like in ninety five mass and just trying to help with that local response in Hawaii.


So you so you wanted to call dropping out of the race. Is that what it's called. Is there some official word for now.


Withdrew my candidacy candidacy so we withdrew suspending.


That's the word they use. Suspending your candidacy.


And did you feel like what the hell just happened? Did you feel like wasted time? Did you feel like man?


Because, again, I remember looking at you in the polls and, you know, you might have gotten to three percent or four percent.


I could I I was really surprised. I was really surprised, you know, that you just didn't get the kind of traction.


Again, as as Joe said, you're like such a kind of ideal candidate from, like a box checking. You're a veteran, you're a woman. You've been you've got experience, you got combat deployments, you're whatever. Not a white person. You've got these things that people are looking for.


Hoppa. Yeah, you're Hopoate. So so you got those things.


And it just seemed like, OK, it'll be interesting to watch this. She's going to climb right up this thing and you never really made that progress.


Does that surprise you?


I mean, in hindsight, no, because you because you see with the patient at that moment, like going through it, um, it surprised me that I didn't even have the opportunity to earn it, to earn the support, to get that exposure.


I remember you told me at some point you were like the number one most Googled name after the first debate. After the second debate. What, you didn't make the third debate for whatever reason. And I don't remember which I think there was. There was yeah. There was a gap at some point where I didn't make one. But then I made the the next I don't remember exactly what. But in those first in those first debates, um, I was the most searched candidate of the night after each of those debates, which was the whole point, you know, hey, I can go on this stage a national stage.


The first debate, I think, had over 20 million viewers. And this is the opportunity to introduce myself to the American people in the hopes that they might say, she looks interesting.


I want to know more. I want to learn more. And that being starting to kind of crack open the door to be able to make an impact there.


I think one of the other, in addition to all the things that we talked about, about how that opportunity really ultimately did not exist. And it started with that first debate, you know, in advance, we had set up our our Google ads account so that when people went on Google and said, hey, who is Tulsi Gabbard, then, you know, our links would pop up and they would then go to my website and they could look at click issue X, Y or Z.


What do you care about bio background, et cetera? That was the hope that that would be I would be the most Googled candidate and that we therefore were ready for it. Google shut down our Google ads account with no reason whatsoever at all given during the first debate.


It was not actually during the debate. It was afterward, but it was during that. It was during that window of time that was the golden opportunity to capture. And it was a limited window. And they they just like your account is suspended. No explanation. No. Here's what you got to do to fix it or get it. You know, whatever released. And and to this day, we've never gotten you know, it was suspended for a certain period of time and then it was reinstated.


And it was not for lack of us trying to reach anybody who would answer us and tell us why and what we could do to fix it immediately. So, you know, I mean, there's I filed a lawsuit against Google for that because of because of the impact, obviously, that it had on me.


But also but really, the bigger issue that I wanted to raise by filing this lawsuit was you've got this massive big tech company who has the power to interfere in the public square of our democracy.


And, you know, who knows? Still to this day, like, was it some guy sitting at a computer was like, man, fuck Tulsi Gabbard, I'm going to punch this button and show her what's up. Or like, who knows?


I don't know what happened, but it happened.


And if it can happen to a sitting member of Congress who's running for the highest office in the land, it could happen to anybody running for office, anybody who's speaking out, anybody being critical of whether it's big tech or a government policy, like whatever the motive, this is the power that they have in their hands that's incredibly dangerous in undermining the the kind of core pillars of of our democracy, of having a marketplace of free ideas and voters who can, you know, get the information they need and ultimately make the decision that they want to make.


Are they allowed to? Are they allowed to mess with, like Google AdWords from a political perspective? So in other words, if I was running against you and I bought the ad word Tulsi Gabbard and brought it to a freakin Russian newspaper article about how they're your favorite. So when I Googled Tulsi Gabbard, I click on the first article that comes up, it shows me that you're a Russian plant.


Mm hmm. Can I do that in the political realm? Because, look, they do it with like I you know, I have a bunch of companies and sell a bunch of stuff and you type in JoCo, you know, the other companies pay for that word for JoCo protein and it brings to their site. Right. So if I was a billionaire and you were running against me, I could be like, oh, cool, I'll just buy Tulsi Gabbard.


Who is Tulsi Gabbard? What is Tulsi Gabbard? Where's Tulsi Gabbard come from? And I'll just buy all those things and send them all to Tulsi Gabbard from Russia or whatever else I'm going to do. Is that legal in the I know it's legal in the in the free market because they do it all the time. Is it legal and the political side?


As far as I know, I am not I have not come across any kind of like legislation against AdWords in Google.


There are there are no laws or rules in place from a government perspective that that limit what these big tech monopolies can do with their algorithms.


And that's part of the whole issue here. When we talk about big tech, the monopolies, the power that they have to either promote or push forward certain voices or people or ideas and silence others, um, and they can do so while being completely legally immune from any kind of accountability through our legal system. Because they're private companies. Well, because yeah, because they're private companies. But this Section 230 provision that exists within the law that was was put in place to encourage innovation on the Internet early decades ago, um, when they passed that law, it that gave them this legal immunity, it said that they can, um, they can remove content that they deem to be objectionable without any definition of what that is.


First of all, whatever they want it to be, whatever they want it to be. And then it says whether or not it is protected by the Constitution daing. How?


I don't know who wrote that part of it, probably the two Bastad that clicked delete your account for six hours, but to have something in there that says you Internet service provider company, you can decide what speech you deem or content objectionable or not, whether or not it is protected by our Constitution.


This is the problem that needs to be fixed within our laws today as it relates to big tech. And it's a relatively there's a lot of I and I've looked at this a lot while I was in Congress and then after for obvious reasons. And, you know, there's a lot of different proposals and different ways to kind of bite this apple. But the most simple and direct way would be.


To take out that objectionable content, just take those words out and instead. You know, you can say unless it is unless, you know, you can remove content, unless it is protected under the First Amendment and there's legal precedents in place through various Supreme Court rulings that provide very clear kind of guardrails towards what kind of speech is protected versus what is not. And that way, if we make this legislative change, it would alleviate the kind of pressure that these big tech companies are under right now coming from the left and the right, because then they can just say, look, these are the guardrails, this is speech that's protected and it's going to remain on the Internet and speech that's not protected, then it's up to us to make that decision to to to remove it.


That that's that's the that that's the best answer that I have come across on how to address this rather than allowing this, you know, I mean, now we have like, oh, OK, well, we're going to cancel anything that's disinformation. We're going to cancel anything that's misinformation. We're going to, you know, cancel anything that we don't like or, you know, I mean, it's getting worse and worse. And unfortunately, the direction that I'm seeing from Democrats in Congress is not towards, hey, how do we protect free speech?


But instead, it's we need big tech to do more to shut people up who are saying things that we deem to be misinformation or disinformation or that could mislead people into believing a certain thing or seeing a certain view.


And it's it's it is you know, the fact that this is happening and people don't see the danger of, OK, you're in power today. You got Kevin McCarthy, who's the head of the Republicans in the House, saying, I bet my House on the fact that Republicans will regain the majority in twenty twenty two. What are you going to do when the tables turn? And then you've got the other guys in power saying, yeah, you know what, we don't want Democrats to be misleading people on the Internet.


So we're going to tweak the language a little bit and make sure that big tech silences those voices and pushes like it's it's so simple and clear how dangerous of position that we are in and that when you when you threaten the First Amendment like freedom of speech, a free press, like freedom of religion, once you undermine that, what do we have in America?


We don't we don't have. We don't have the country, we don't have our country. Yeah, we did we did a podcast and we recorded it before Christmas, but we did it in 1980, the book 1984.


I listened to that. Yeah.


And it was really weird because we just, you know, it's just something that I was like all the same things that are going on. And I and I read that book many, many years ago and I remembered this one. Part of it is about the language and the importance of language and therefore the importance of free speech. And we recorded it and then like it was Christmas time. And that that podcast came out January 6th.


And it was kind of crazy that it came out on that. It just we had recorded it a month prior and you had scheduled it for that. It was just that's when it's coming out. So it came out January 6th in nineteen eighty four was trending. And then the the tat the hashtag nineteen eighty four some some hashtag nineteen eighty four actually got shut down on Twitter.


It was, it was, it wasn't, it wasn't because of that podcast, but it was just very coincidental that all that was happening at the same time. But the point of doing that and is exactly aligned with what you're saying, you have to allow people to communicate with each other. Yeah. And you know, saying if you if you say something to me that's misleading, I can't just it's what I started off with.


I just don't say shut up. You're not allowed to talk. I say, OK. Well, actually, Tulsi, let me show you some other information that might change your mind a little bit, because, by the way, when I just tell you to shut up, I don't move your opinion at all.


In fact, there's a really good chance that I'm just going to make you down on that.


And that's what's happening in the country right now, which is freaking nasty. And and actually that, again, interestingly, as all this was happening, we we had had I talk to equines like, listen, man, I don't know what's going to happen in the world and I don't know what's going to happen.


Look, we don't we're not on here making any inflammatory statements. We're usually talking about history. I said, and that's cool. Well, that's what we're going to do. But at some point, people are starting to change history. And I said, I don't know what's going to happen with the platforms that we're on. Yeah, like these platforms could change the way they do business.


And we started our own platform just to make sure that we have some place to some place to go in the event that things take a turn for the worse.


And there's a bunch of other things that could happen.


I mean, you could have some of these free platforms say, all right, we're going to start charging money and start inserting ads into the middle of, you know, here's JoCo talking about a a battle in World War two.


And it's heavy and crazy and emotional. Someone's going to insert an ad in there like, I don't want that. I don't want people to have to put up with that.


So I don't know. Or do we just get someone to say, look, JoCo, you talked about this part of history, which, you know, we don't really like. We think it's misinformation and pull it down. But that's that's that's a reality that could happen. Yeah. So we have to be that's why we made we made the the JoCo underground just because of that.


So that's the platform that you guys created. It's the platform underground ARCOM and it's just a back up.


And look, some people like, oh, you want money or we don't want your money.


Yeah, that's not what it's about. But to not have a contingency plan is ignorant.


And so and again, all that what's funny about all this is I had talked about it. He said, hey, can you build something to figure this out? He's working and figuring it out and eventually goes, yeah, you know, I got it. This was before the end of twenty twenty. This is before the end of twenty twenty. It was a let's have a contingency plan in case something happened. Right.


And then I said, you know what, this is getting squirrelly. It's getting squirrelly. Let's launch the contingency plan, you know, next month just to have just to get it out there so people know what it is in case something happens. And sure enough, January 6th, it was like, boom, we had it was so coincidental, but it was very and I remember texting Echo like, well, I guess this is why we had a contingency plan.


And then thank God it launched today because who knows where it's going to be in six months? I don't know. I don't know. It's crazy.


I remember listening to that night, so I don't I have not listens. Like I have friends of mine who have listened to your podcast from number one. And then those people are my friends, too.


Yeah, but but like in sequence, like it chronologically and like a buddy of mine got to the I think it was episode ninety nine is Musashi one hundred one hundred.


While he couldn't get past ninety nine because he didn't finish reading the book and I'm like Hey JoCo just did this new show on and I can't do it because I can't listen to one hundred until I read the book so. Yeah. Yeah. Spoiled.


So I'm not one of those people. Just jump around. You've missed episode because this is. I'll jump around like, OK, what am I in the mood like, what am I in the mood for? Am I in the mood for dark depression or am I in the mood for human atrocity? Where am I? And I'll tell you a funny story about that in a second, but I went straight for that nineteen eighty four and I don't remember what actual day it was, not January six, but it was in the days after.


And I wondered then it when you had recorded that because it was literally addressing everything that we were seeing play out right, right before us.


As far as the warning signs and the dangers of this is where this is where you end up once you allow for this kind of control and once we as people accept it. Yes, but little sidetrack, funny story. And I'll show you the video after because it'll take me a minute to dig it up. But it won't surprise you to know that on the presidential campaign trail, sleep was hard to come by for me and for two reasons.


One was just a factor of time in the day, but also it was tough for me to, um, tough for me to turn turn everything off and actually just get like I'm not even talking about hours. I'm just talking about just a good slice of good quality rest and sleep.


We were in New Hampshire in the middle of winter and there was a rare opportunity where I got to take a nap and we'd rented a like an Airbnb or something like that. And so I took a nap and my husband took a video of me taking a nap because he walked in the room and I'm lying there and I'm asleep and I'm all bundled up under the covers. And I got my phone sitting on my on the top of the covers. And I was listening to JoCo podcast with a guy from the French Foreign Legion.


And I'll show you the video because I am dead asleep. And my husband came in and he has the camera going, picks up, my phone looks at. And the reason I remember this is because this was on February 11th, February 11th, twenty twenty. And it just so happened that it popped up on my phone on February 11th of this year as like the memory thing or whatever.


And I was debating sending it to you as I told my husband, I was like, oh, we didn't get the wrong idea and think I'm like bored to death on his podcast.


And he's like, no, what it showed was like I was able to completely tune out the noise of of what was going on in my mind of the day to day and and be able to kind of be transported to a different conversation and topic and and all this other stuff. But it was a great podcast that I did end up finishing.


But you gave me the gift of some really good sleep as well. The soothing, a soothing voice of JoCo talking about war can send anyone I don't know what that says about me to relax.


Anyhow, I remember when when you dropped out of the race and you.


You. Endorsed Biden. Yeah, and I remember thinking because, again, I didn't know a lot of these things that you're telling me right now. I knew them kind of, but I still I still had some sort of naive sense in my heart that it can't be that bad. And I texted you and I said, like, hey, are you going to get the VP nod is because I was I was kind of surprised you endorse Biden.


I was like, well, you know what? Oh, I said, Oh, I know what's happening. She's playing the game. She's going to endorse Biden. Biden's going to get her as the VP. It's on.


And you were like you like you like however you laugh and tax you like a real you're a little bit of a bit over nothing from these people. I was like, oh, OK. That's pretty much. Pretty much.


And then so. So then you wrapped up your your career. Well, you wrapped up this portion of your career as a politician in in.


That was it went out to D.C. for the last congressional session. Yeah, packed up your locker. January 2nd was my last official day. We had to pack up the office before Thanksgiving. So no kidding. You know, we were there were obviously votes going into December. There was, you know, government's going to shut down if we don't pass a new appropriations bill. And kind of the unfortunate usual thing that happens at the end of every year.


Um, but, yeah, I was working out of my car. I parked in front of the Capitol. I had my computer and it's covid. So, you know, votes consist of seven different groups of members of Congress. I was group to it's by alphabetical order where you're only allowed to have a certain number of people on the floor at any given time. They decontaminate the whole floor between every vote. And so when your group is called, you go in, cast your vote and then you leave.


And so that was like was like eight votes are called. Sometimes they last for, you know, an hour, two hours or whatever. And if you've got four votes in a series, then you're doing this running in and out, you know, four times in that series. And so, yeah, I was, you know, office office shut down before Thanksgiving, had to turn in everything so that they could transition and start to bring in other members of Congress.


And I should mention now that that, um, I made the decision not to run for re-election to my House seat in October of twenty nineteen when it got to the point where I had to make a decision where I would either continue my candidacy or I would suspend my presidential campaign and focus on running for reelection in Hawaii. And I couldn't do both.


Um, legally I could have. But just the constraints of time and the tyranny of distance, it was not I was I would end up doing a crappy job at both. So that was the decision I made. I, you know, let folks in. And I wanted people in Hawaii to know that, um, you know, they were not some kind of fallback plan for me if this national thing didn't work out and that they would have the opportunity and the time to decide who they would want, you know, to to work for them and other candidates who who who are going to run.


So, uh, and that was a decision I never looked back on, um, or regret it in any way. But as a result of that. Yeah. So I think things started quickly and having to shut down in D.C., but January 2nd was was the actual final day. Were you heading home kind of stoked that it was over?


Or were you heading home, kind of bummed out that it was over?


Mixed feelings, really mixed feelings. I again, I made that decision without regret. And so it wasn't any surprise that this was going to happen at this point in time. But I mean, I remember, um, landing at Dulles Airport and on that last trip and as I was driving into D.C., like, I'm not going to make this drive again as a member of Congress at least. And, uh. Even as screwed up as things are and as frustrating as things are and have progressively gotten.


It never takes away the awesomeness of that privilege of being able to serve in that in that way and, you know, there are grooves. Have you have you been inside the state capitol to the Capitol before the U.S. Capitol? When you go inside, there are, you know, marble steps that take you up to the the actual entrance to the House floor and the second floor and then the visitors galleries on the third floor. When you walk those steps, there are there are deeply worn grooves where countless other leaders from our nation's history have walked those very steps.


And the the, um. It's an amazing thing to to. Never forget those who have come before us, those who will come after and how special of a privilege it is that the people of Hawaii allowed me that privilege to to do my best to serve them for the eight years that I was there. And that was that was, you know, yeah. I there's so much of the political drama and and just the theatrics and the all all of the stuff that you just kind of got to endure in order to try to do the work that you're trying to do.


And and I I've always hated all that stuff and had no no problem at all leaving that that behind. But I think the mixed feelings and emotions part just came from, um, just that that reflecting on the time that I've had there and honestly wishing that there are a lot of areas and things that I wish I could have done more on, that I could have, you know, um, legislation that I wished had been able to advance farther or just just different things, you know, assessing kind of what I was able to do, what I wished I was able to do.


And, um, but but leaving with the sense of of peace in my heart, in knowing that, you know, I did my best and excited about how I can find out how I will find a way to continue to serve. So you get back home to Hawaii, and I know when I came back from my last deployment to Iraq, I had I was home for I was home for like a month. And one day I just woke up on a Saturday and I kind of felt like this weird wait.


I felt good. Right? I felt good. And I felt like the weight was gone. And I was kind of thinking about what why do I feel so good right now? And I realized, oh, it's because I'm not worried about one of my guys getting wounded or killed right now because we're home from deployment. And it took me about a month for that to go away because it's just your instinct. Every time, every time you wake up, you're thinking about what's happening.


Is everyone OK? You're thinking about that all the time. And I never noticed it when I was on deployment because that's just how it was. It was just, you know, you just wake up and that's what you're thinking. And it's real. Well, after a month of waking up and. Oh, no, it's not. You don't have to worry about the oh, no, you don't have to worry about that. And eventually one day I woke up and said, why don't?


Oh, it's because I'm not worried about that thing I've been worried about for so long. When you got home, I mean, the how long did it take for that to wear off the pressure, the the constantly thinking about all this crap that's going on and what you need to do and where you need to move and what's the next maneuver and who's mad at you and who's happy with you and all this other crap. How long did it take you for, for you like.


Oh I hope I don't wait.


Do I have Wacks for my surfboard right now? How long did that take? Not very long ago when I was ready then. But it also, you know, I mean, just this whole covid situation also, um, you know, I had been home a lot more than I normally would have been and working from home and having virtual committee hearings and a lot of other stuff. That was just it was a strange lead up to where the contrast wasn't so different.


Um, but it was it was odd for me, like it started August is when our primary elections are in Hawaii. And I remember waking up on primary election day, which is Saturday in Hawaii. And I was like, oh, my gosh, I'm don't have to go sign waving at six o'clock in the morning.


I can I can go surfing. Like, this is a weird feeling because I had held elected office for the previous ten years. I'd been on a ballot every single election for the previous ten years. And so that was that was strange. That was a really weird thing that was felt unnatural to me. And then and then similarly, um, with with the general election. But yeah, I was I had no issue with that transition and.


Yeah. Went on to, uh, take full advantage of, of being home and um, knowing that, well really a lot of it was being able to regain control over how I spent my time and, uh.


Have to to no longer have those very immediate political factors playing into decisions that I'm making and. Just to just to be for the first time in a long time, not have not being constantly jet lag, that was something I didn't realize took such a toll for eight years. I'm going back and forth two or three times a month between Hawaii and D.C., five or six hours difference every time a plane rides along with that was not nice, whatever. I mean, it's plane ride.


Um, but, you know, like like I can actually, like, get a schedule happening and stick with it and not be up at two o'clock in the morning because it's 8:00 in D.C. and then, you know, go to sleep at 6:00 because it's midnight. I guess just you know, it was just just basic, like simple life. Things like I like to cook, like I could act like I like I'm like I can go grocery shopping and cooking and not have to worry.


Like, is the food going to rot by the time I have to leave and then come back is just like simple little things. Um, it was it's, it's nice.


So let's get into what you're settling into now.


The dust has settled and you're able to buy groceries, cook them before they rob the surf train, get on a schedule.


But obviously that's not where you're going to do for the rest of your life. Yeah. What else is going on? What else you got going on in the world?


So I am, uh, so I'm still serving in the Army Reserves.


I have I moved from the National Guard to the Reserves and transitioned my branch to civil affairs.


Awesome. Which is often called kind of the the warrior diplomat service. And, um, yeah, it's fantastic.


I it's it's been a great move and one that's focused on building relationships and is kind of kind of right up my alley, something I've been interested for a really long time that that I never pursued because it doesn't exist within the National Guard for obvious reasons. It's National Guard focus is domestic mission first, but civil affairs is. Ninety eight percent of civil affairs forces in the United States Army live within the Army Reserves. There's the remaining whatever two percent is basically lives on on.


Fort Bragg is part of the the unconventional special forces community. And so, yeah, I'm appreciating the training, the experience and also some of the missions that that have already been able to serve on there.


Um, I as as kind of a direct result of everything that we talked about, with my experience with the mainstream media and, um, being filtered into, you know, or limited to soundbytes, their unwillingness to go in depth or even really cover any real issues, serious issues and just the caricatures that they create.


I am launching my own show where I will have the opportunity to really speak directly to people in an unfiltered way and an unlimited way, both both about a lot of these issues that we've talked about and have conversations with people who can shed light and bring their expertise or experience on them, but also just be able to. Have a platform where I can take some of those experiences that I've had and I'm sure you've had the same, because I've seen it in the military.


I've seen in politics where whether it's traveling to different parts of the country or traveling to different parts of the world, there's there's so much more that we have in common as people than is often focused on or that we even we may may realize. And so I look forward to being able to to have that platform. My show is called this is Tulsi Gabbard, just because it is just me and use that as as an opportunity to be able to fill that gap or to.


Provide what the mainstream media and the corporate media is not offering to to people, and that I found there's there is there's a lot of hunger for that for real conversation, whether it's with people you agree with or or to have a dialogue. You know, I want to be able to have people on my show who represent different views on an issue and who are interested in having a respectful conversation about it and why you hold one view. Why do you hold the other view?


Where is there common ground? Where is there a retractable differences? Where where do you draw the line?


And and I think being able to provide this platform, I hope will result in more people thinking like, hey, maybe I can start talking to my neighbor who voted for the other guy or the other party. And we haven't really talked for like a year because of it. But maybe we should just, like, start the conversation and see where it goes and that it's OK and that we in America should be encouraging civil discourse and dialogue and encouraging when we talk about what we have to protect freedom of speech.


What does that mean? Well, you know, and how do you do it?


Like, let's start with speaking, sharing our ideas and not as you started this whole our conversation today, not in a way that says I'm right, you're wrong. I have to be heard. You don't get to be heard. But in a way that that that we don't see now where if you believe in something, you hold a view that you feel is important, strong and communicate that also recognize that not everyone may share that view for whatever reason.


Maybe they have a different background, a different experience, and one that you may not have, and that the more we can encourage this kind of exchange, the stronger we are as a society.


And we don't lose by having great platforms for people to share them.


And that that's the biggest difference between what we are seeing today versus what I believe our founders envisioned for us, where somehow we've come to a place where the powerful people in this country think that it's really a sign of insecurity, where if those who hold different views are allowed to air them, then somehow you'll lose, which means that maybe you're not confident that what you're offering is going to quote unquote, win or convince people that it is a superior idea.


Yeah, it is. So it plays out leadership strategy and tactics. Let's talk about this. You know, if you if I'm in charge and Tulsi, you say, hey, hey, JoCo, I don't think we should do it like that. And my response is shut up and do what I told you to do.


I don't look strong. No, I look weak. Yeah, I look weak. If I say, well, how do you think we should do it? And I listen to your ideas and I incorporate some of your idea into the overall plan because you were able to convince me because you had a different perspective than I did. You'll see you'll look at me and think, oh, I really like working with working for JoCo.


I really like working with JoCo because he's listening to what I'm saying. And all of a sudden we're coming up with actual better solutions. By the way, it's not like it's, oh, I'm doing this to appease to PEOC right now. So she'll, you know, work hard for me. No, she's actually got a presentation to me that actually makes more sense. We're going to use it. Yeah. So we're trying to get some more. So this is a podcast, your new your new show.




It'll be, you know, available on all the podcast platforms right now.


We're also doing video.


So I so I talked to you some time ago and ask some questions about how you launch a podcast and such. And, um, one of the things you told me about was consistency is key, both of you.


That's that's that's echoed by side. I just echoed Echo Charles advice on that.


Yeah, well, the message was received. And so what I'm doing is so, so soon within within the next few weeks. But I'm recording a number of shows to have in the bank to make sure that, you know, hey, I got to go away to training for a couple of weeks, that we're not going to we're not going to skip a beat.


So how long is the show? Have you recorded somewhere to have.


Yeah, you know, I know no real time limit, but right now they're about an hour and a half ish.


You're not going JoCo site go for hours.


I'm not opposed to it, but. No, no, no rules. No rules.


And I think that's that's a cool thing about it. So is that the main focus of your efforts right now? It is, yeah.


You're going to watch this show and I think probably by by the end of this month, that's what I'm aiming for.


Awesome. So where can people find you?


People can find me at Tulsi Gabbard on all the solo. Social media platforms and also on my website, Tulsi Gabbard, dot com, there's there's a few different things that that I'm looking to do their updates and information, and I've moved it away from what it was traditionally, which is a political campaign website and really focusing more on how we can build communities and conversation in our in our society. I don't care if you're Democrat, Republican, independent. I don't care if you voted for Trump or voted for Hillary or whatever.


None none of that should matter as we come together to to rebuild bridges focused on how we collectively as Americans can work together for the future of our country.


Logit echo Charles, yes, that seems like a good place to wrap this this session. I don't know, maybe this is a good place to wrap up this session. Sure. Toasties obviously been charging hard for well since you were 16 years old as a water woman, which again, we will be really scouring the Internet for that.


She's been on the path that go, Charles, and I'm thinking we should be on the path to what suggestions do you have?


I have hey, when you go to the grocery store, like, stop a lot still in Hawaii. Definitely. Oh, yeah, they do a footling which is interesting because and I say I know you your water woman. I don't know where those kids are now, you know. Hey, Billy, how you doing? I remember you wear your cape. Yeah, exactly. It's still there at the same time.


OK, yeah. On Onco I like when you see the mayor wherever you know, stock market for sure. Oh yeah. You know, stop and be like, hey, you know. So I would imagine if someone had like something, you know, something they want to address it, they wouldn't hesitate to stop because you're right there.


It happened most recently. I was out surfing the reef near the McCulloh Islands and the east side of Oahu. And the surf there only goes off like it's only really good when there's no wind and there's swell, obviously. And it's a long it's like three quarters of a mile paddle from shore out there. But it happened most recently. They're like usually it's like someone will paddle. I'll be like, where do I know you from?


And then and then like one. And then it was like, Oh yeah, hi, I'm Tulsa. Oh my God. That's what I thought. And then word in the lineup travels pretty quickly. And the last time I was was a couple of weeks ago, the waves really stayed out for four hours.


And then, um, people just like a Dossi guys on stand up were looking down at me on my surfboard and talking stories like, oh, what this is what it's so it's it's cool. I like it.


Yeah. So you go to Sandy Beach. Um, I have been I generally stay away.


I don't want to threaten like my life by body surfing is short break do you. Oh yeah. Those are those are spot. Yeah. And the beach for sure. But back in the day.


Back in the day. All right. How are we staying on the path. OK, all right. All right. We're working out. We surfing. Yeah. Snowboarding. So some of us. Are you a snowboarder.


I ski. Snowboard. But Echo Charles has recently become highly engaged in snowboard shredding.


I like it. It's true. It's true. But we are working out and training for various things.


So I was pretty stoked when you were running and you put like whatever videos of you doing squats.


Yeah. And I'm like, oh, you go, girl. I think we did a couple percentage points of increase. I'm just doing burping. I was given credit. I was like, oh yeah, I kind of I'm leaning in your direction to see, to do. But it's all good in the polls in America.


People were watching that saying, oh, there's also doing babies, hey, let's at least throw a hot dog a bone. Right? Come on, let me earn it with some burping. Freaking ridiculous. Yeah.


I didn't really see much burping by Joe Biden or I didn't see yeah. I didn't see Joe Biden doing any Barbies. Nobody else.


Nobody else kind of got on the the fitness kick.


Yeah. Crazy. Well good. Nonetheless we're going to stay on the path here.


So through the path we may need supplementation. I would suggest supplementation during Jaquiss. I believe in that. It's true. Yeah. True story. So here you go. You got joints that need attention sometimes, especially when we get older, huh. When we eating younger. Is this the collective we worry.


As far as I know, I'm not. Yeah, I vote against it in the same age. I get it.


But for those of us who are you know, we want to get something that helps in the routine supplementation for joints, protein, brain, body, all this stuff.


So what if we got joint warfare joints, krill oil joints, discipline and discipline go?


Brain and body, how's that discipline go, go this this is good, I know this is the first time I'm trying the discipline. Gojko Parmer drink. Very good. Tasty, very good. No sugar in that. Yeah, that's right. With the monkey. See, I use Monck fruit like in my protein shakes and stuff.


I don't know what's up. Yeah man. To sweeten it.


To sweeten it. Yeah. Because you get, you get, you get the good natural like healthy sweetener without like the carbs of like maple syrup for example. Guess who just made the the clip of the week.


Oh yeah. Yeah. That's my girl.


Tulsans which maple syrup is my my goat. Like I would only eat pancakes to have maple syrup really. But you know, I can't.


Did you get any maple syrup from Pete up and up in Maine. No.


Come on man. Yeah, he's out there and he used to do it himself. But now, you know, just like friends and and it's real maple syrup. You can go with the tree. There is trees are running.


That was. And sorry, I'm messing with your jam here, man, but it's one of the coolest experiences.


Well, there are many, but one of the coolest was when I stopped in Freedom New Hampshire and went to a sugar shack and met with the three generations of family who have passed down from, you know, father to child and got to see the whole thing.


We went up to the trees, saw the taps, came down, saw the whole process, and then, of course, like, sampled the goods like a maple syrup. Is it ever since I've been a kid like those little maple leaf candies and you're not done. Finished. I was up in Maine talking to Pete.


He's like a sugar addict. He obviously can't eat it, that's why. But he he was saying he would take little pencil box, you know, the pencil box you had when you were a little kid. He would fill that with sugar cubes and hide it underneath his bed. And at night when he'd go to bed, he put like a little crack addict.


It's that next level. I'm like, bro, what is wrong with you? Why? He started, like, going into a different realm mentally.


And he goes, because, bro, if you ever tried sugar, he's talking to me about. Yeah. Like crazy you were when you were talking about that right on like thing.


Yeah. One of the Origin videos came out, showed me talking about that.


Yes. So it did sound crazy the way you were talking about. But then I remember like we didn't just buy sugar cubes, but every once in a while, like you'd get the little PAC right with all the sugar cubes and and I'd eat those to see they're like little candies. Yeah. But it's like pure, it's like mainlining the sugar. It's a good I didn't hide them under my bed.


I was going to say stealing those things from your own family. You pretty big deal of like little it's different you know.


Well Monck fruit. No sugar. It's not sugar. Fruit is good stuff.


It's natural. And by the way, we went the distance and I held out long. The other thing that's cool about this drink is, which was really hard to do, is the way that you make it stay good on the shelf.


It has to you have to preserve it somehow. And what companies normally do is they just add chemicals to it. Right. And they're called preservatives. We've all heard of that. Right. Well, instead of using preservatives, which I didn't want to do, it's it's pasteurized. So it's like cooked. So there's no but there's no chemicals in it, but it costs us a ton of money to get it going. And it took us an extra almost took us over six months to get this all set up.


But then we did it and now you can drink this and your kids can drink it. That's my own kids can drink my drink.


It's something that my my mom always encouraged us. And it's like a habit I got into from a young age.


It's like just read the ingredients before you buy it.


And if you don't understand half of the things that are on the ingredients, then, you know, think twice about putting it in your body.


Let me ask you if you understand these ingredients, filtered carbonated water, natural flavor, citric acid, monck fruit, that's the ingredient list dog. And it has the vitamin B6 and B Twilights got the other positive things, the actual the the food ingredients. That's it.


That's incredible. And more people are becoming conscious of this these days for sure.


Really. I mean, more people are becoming aware and whether it's because of health, like diabetes and or whatever else. But I think there's just an increased level of awareness of like hate and even more so with covid like, I really should be healthy.


I should strengthen my immune system and I should know what I'm consuming.


I felt so bad the last time you visited. So whatever, three months ago, something like that, you came by. We didn't have time to record. I didn't have time record or whatever, but you just came by to hang out a little bit and whatever, two days later. I called you up and said, hey, how are you? I sent you a text. Hey, how you doing? You're like, fine, I've got to tell you, if you like what I got coming out of the controls.


So I had to make the luckily, I only saw the ten people in that time period of whatever that week was where I knew I had while I had been tested positive for covid texted Echo.


He's like, I can't smell anything, but I felt bad about that.


But it happens, unfortunately.


I'm just going to knock on wood right now.


Yeah, but yeah.


So there you go. Yeah.


You talk about the immunity thing, so come to find out who has it covered as well as for supplementation goes vitamin D, three notes with immunity and a special supplement called Cold War.


And it was again, this was crazy, right. Like so before covid I traveled all the time for planes, you know, all the time. And, you know, the nightmare of that and your breathing and everyone stuff. And so I said, you know what? Going to make you a good immunity booster with a bunch of vitamin C and just things. And so I made it and cool and and it was selling good and whatever, but then covid it in the tooth and I also made vitamin D already made it.


This isn't like oh it's, it's covered.


It was already in the system as it was already live because I always I take vitamin D and boom as soon as covid hit it was like we, we had to just we sold out almost immediately and then we just had to ramp it up.


But luckily we had already had the formulas built. So that stuff is awesome.


Cold War and then and the vitamin D three. It's true. Oh good for you.


Yeah. I'm a I'm a supplement taker just in general. But I was not taking vitamin D prior to covid, nor was I really aware of how important it was until I started to learn and read more and see, especially related to covid how most Americans are deficient.


Yeah, like a vast majority of Americans are deficient in vitamin D and especially people who have any kind of, you know, colored tone to their skin, even more so are found to be deficient in vitamin D. So I am now a daily consumer.


Well, vitamin D, I learned that when we had our daughter where everything, you know, you read for best development, all this stuff, vitamin D was always popping up and everything about vitamin D. True, but yeah. So yeah. Got some get some vitamin D also don't forget about milk.


This is extra protein in the form of a dessert. Yeah. By the way, sometimes it's just dessert that has protein straight up. Yeah. Especially if you get your little formula down like some people they just go milk, milk, milk on the milk, whatever. Cool, good. But some of us we have a perfectly tuned formula.




Half a spoon, a peanut butter, one scoop, mint chocolate, one scoop. Peanut butter chocolate. One banana ham. Wow.


You milk or two percent milk bottle. That's the formula in my household. I randomly tried almond milk with peanut butter milk bro. Legitimate.


What is up milkshake. Yeah that's a milkshake.


So that I added a banana like reluctantly like I was like OK banana because sometimes banana can jam up your whole flavor profile.


Let me ask you this. Are they frozen or fresh. Both whatever. Because OK, because the result is a little bit different if I'm not that advanced to tell the difference. And here here's what I know about the frozen banana. I want a banana starting to get right in a little bit. Pass right. Like the brown is taking over. You can feel it and freeze it as what I do. Yes. I didn't know that. Sara told me that was like, cool.


Sure enough, she has two of them frozen inside because they needed a banana. So I put the frozen one in. I was like, man, this works perfect. Yeah, they get a creamier when they're frozen.


Check this out. That's my job. My mind is similar to you.


We had to we had to wait over four hours for you to finally drop this knowledge. The secret is out. OK, good thing we grew up.


My mom used to make ice cream at home from frozen bananas and just like literally put them through the champion juicer freeze and put them through the champion juicer, maybe add a little bit of like whatever some to kind of like put it up to the next level. But like, you have like homemade soft serve immediately. So the frozen bananas I vouch for I I'm waiting for the plant based Molk.


Yeah. To come out.


I don't know if I talk to you or Pete about that, but you may have to work.


But that's, that's what I do is for, for after my workouts every day. My first meal that's my first meal is a shake. I'd kind of fast until after that. Yeah. But I. I do the protein powder, the almond milk, the peanut butter, just a healthy, healthy, solid dollop of someone's going to get the frozen banana and then I throw in I throw in some chia seeds, some pumpkin seeds and flax seeds.


You guys make me feel like amateurs. I don't know where I go. I go mix it.


Yeah, it seems it's true. It's a hearty shake.


But then I'm like, I'm good. Like, I'm good until, like, I have like an early dinner then that's it.


Yeah. Yeah. That's kind of a good thing. You can use it for different reasons.


You know, you can do like a meal replacement or just a supplementation for the protein or dessert or just like I said, I'm going to try to of the technical capabilities. I would put that as the lowest. You said you said protein inflects, double flexed your biceps. It happened automatically. Witnessed it. I witnessed it. It's it's it's serious. And we can get these things at many places. You can be on the lookout for any of these places.


You can get all this stuff at first. Wawa, East Coast, what was only on the East Coast. Sorry. Yes, OK.


Walwa at Orjan main dotcom joco fuel dot com jakiel fuel dot com.


Kind of the same we call trajectory. Yeah. Go vitamin shot talking about and the vitamin shot. Yes sir.


By the way this is important actually because shipping is a problem. Right. Financially it can cost a lot of money to ship something. Here's the deal. If you subscribe to any of these items, shipping is free. Wow. So we're trying to look there's we're talking about tech companies. There's obviously some big tech companies out there that are hard to compete with. In fact, we you can't beat them, join them. We join them. It's fine.


You can get the stuff there because it's free shipping. You know, it's like it's like sort of a that's a primary reason why people might order from this particular place, which is cool.


We're down and we appreciate it. One hundred percent, that's fine. But if you wanted to just go straight to the source but you didn't want to spend money on shipping, we got you covered. And it took us a while to figure out how we could balance it.


If you subscribe, shippings free on whatever you order.


So that's kind of huge when you're talking about it's a very strange it's protein and running through and echo.


No offense to Echo sometimes he's not quite the pinnacle of organization when it comes.


I'm doing the best. I love it. Get a look. I prefaced it by saying no offense. So therefore you can't be offended. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm doing the best I can over here. I'm not a mope, by the way.


There you go. Why are you subscribed?


Well, you got issues that issues nonetheless over there flexing your biceps nonetheless.


Hey look, this is where, how and where we can get all these things.


Also, we to stay on the path, do jujitsu or martial arts.


Martial arts. Good for you. For your mind body. I'm glad you're being diplomatic now.


Well, he's being diplomatic and like being all inclusive, almost like he's never said anything like that before, ever. We talk about doing martial arts. We're talking about jujitsu over here on our side. I guess what we're talking about, you are correct. But go ahead, continue diplomatic. You've been through this diplomacy already today, just hanging out with you. He's got a Loha that's he's this guy has no aloha for other martial arts.


It's like that you're here, OK?


Everything's cool. Well, either way, whatever martial arts we're doing, I say do that stuff. In the event of you doing jujitsu, you're going to need a GI and or rescored get those as well from Origin.


How I want you. Do have you trained a little bit?


Not a lot. I mean the most. The most. If you could I guess within the family would be army combatives.


OK, soldier. Yeah, the army combatives. This is a great program by jujitsu guys.


Exactly. Um, I early on I guess the martial art that I trained the most and was was Brazilian capoeira. Oh that's right.


I was makes me laugh every time I hear you pronouncing English words with a Brazilian Portuguese accent. Oh OK. I was like, yeah, I know because I go, I talk.


I said earlier starting off this program that I'm very I look I just say what I say when it comes to, you know, Brazilian Portuguese words like if you're going to talk to me about, oh, you drink up, where am I coming at?


You like a brew that's over.


Well, and because of that, I took summer classes in Brazilian, Portuguese in Hawaii like, uh, like trying to learn the language. I was getting fully immersed in the culture and and started to do a lot of a lot of the. My friends who did capoeira also did jujitsu and metal. There's a huge Brazilian community in Hawaii because of surfing and obviously most of them do either capoeira and jujitsu as well. And but I just I was kind of consumed.


I was training like six hours a day in capoeira. And that was that was I was starting to teach and I was doing a bunch of stuff there.


But yeah. So so the most time I spent doing any kind of grappling was, was Army Combat Ops, which was fun.


Well, it's cool because now you're going to be on the journey of jujitsu. We're going to get you. Yeah.


I want I really I want to learn and I'm a big mixed martial arts fan. I have been for a long time.


And you went up and trained with Duke Rufous, right?


Yeah, that was an incredible surprise that I was not expecting. But he was there to train, um, John Wiley and she was passing through doing a publicity thing.


So I got to meet her and spar with I use that word very generously. She's like, come at me, like, kick me punch like do something like I don't know. But like like getting to hit some pads of Duke was frickin incredible.


Yeah. Yeah, it was awesome.


I've cornered a bunch of fighters at UFC and whenever Duke Rufous was there he's just like such an awesome.