Tulsi Gabbard, the Only Non-White Dem Candidate With Primary Delegates, Confirms She Was Not Invited to DNC

Representative Tulsi Gabbard confirmed via Twitter on Thursday that she was not invited to participate in the Democratic National Convention (DNC).

Of the seven Democratic candidates who earned delegates during the presidential primaries, Gabbard was the only one not offered a speaking slot during the four-night event.

Gabbard is also the only non-white candidate of the group. The other six candidates who won delegates—Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigeg and Senator Amy Klobuchar—all spoke over the course of the convention.

The 39-year-old Hawaii congresswoman, whose father is of Samoan ancestry, won more delegates than vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, who made history as the first African American and the first Asian American running mate on a major party ticket.

Tulsi Gabbard
U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) holds a Town Hall meeting on Super Tuesday Primary night on March 3, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. On Thursday, Gabbard confirmed she had not been asked to participate in this week's Democratic National Convention. Bill Pugliano/Stringer

The Democratic Party was criticized last week, after releasing the full convention schedule, when constituents noticed Andrew Yang and Julian Castro were also left off the lineup.

Yang ended up speaking at the virtual convention Thursday after he tweeted his disappointment that the party had not asked him to participate. Democratic lawmakers from California expressed their support for Yang's presence at the DNC.

"Dear DNC: Asian Americans are the fastest increasing group in America, including in multiple swing states. The gross underrepresentation of Asian American speakers in the four days of the DNC Convention is tone deaf and a slap in the face," Representative Ted Lieu tweeted on August 11.

Yang announced he was added to the lineup two days later.

Castro, who was the only Latino Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, was also not invited to the convention.

He commented on the lack of diversity on the stage during an interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly.

"You know, last week I saw the schedule. And out of the 35 primetime speakers, only three of them were Latino. There were no Native Americans, no Muslim Americans. And I said that that was - I didn't think that completely reflected this beautiful, diverse coalition, this big tent that Democrats have put together over these last few years," Castro said on Monday.

"However, over the weekend, they did make some good announcements of additional speakers, including Latinas and Latinos and Native American and Muslim American speakers. So that's a positive," he added.

Newsweek reached out to the Democratic National Committee for comment but did not hear back before publication.

Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign in February before dropping out of the Democratic primary on March 19 to endorse Joe Biden as the party nominee.

Biden thanked her for the support, writing on Twitter: "Tulsi Gabbard has put her life on the line in service of this country and continues to serve with honor today. "I'm grateful to have her support and look forward to working with her to restore honor and decency to the White House."

During her campaign, Gabbard was the most-searched candidate on Google following the first, second and fourth Democratic debates.

Gabbard has butted heads with other Democratic figures in the past. In January, she filed a defamation lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after Clinton suggested the congresswoman was being groomed by the Russians to run as a third-party candidate. Gabbard dropped the lawsuit in May.