HONOLULU — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was first on a long list of visitors and potential job seekers at Trump Tower Monday, but the Hawaii Democrat didn't ask for a position in President-elect Donald Trump's new administration and she was not offered one, her office said.
There was no discussion of a job in Trump's administration for Gabbard during the meeting, Gabbard's spokeswoman Erika Tsuji said in an email to The Associated Press.
"She loves the job she has, serving the people of Hawaii in Congress," Tsuji said.
Gabbard talked with Trump about legislation she introduced to end "our illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government," Gabbard said in the email sent by Tsuji.
"Every day this war continues, more children are dying and more families are fleeing their homes and becoming refugees," Gabbard said. "I met with President-elect Trump to continue my fight for peace, against the neocons' continued drumbeats calling for an escalation of the war."
Gabbard had said earlier in a separate statement that Trump asked her to meet with him about the country's policies regarding Syria, the fight against terrorist groups and other foreign policy challenges.
She added in the statement: "I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government — a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families."
Gabbard, who has frequently criticized President Barack Obama on military issues, had resigned her position as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to support U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.
"Where I disagree with President-elect Trump on issues, I will not hesitate to express that disagreement," Gabbard said in the statement. "However, I believe we can disagree, even strongly, but still come together on issues that matter to the American people."
Some Hawaii Democrats have questioned why Gabbard has not joined with other members of Hawaii's all-Democrat congressional delegation in criticizing Trump's recent appointment decisions, including Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist.
Bannon joined Trump's campaign as CEO in August after serving as head of Breitbart News, a far-right outlet condemned by critics as racist, sexist and anti-Semitic. Jewish groups and a long list of Democratic leaders have denounced Bannon's hiring and asked Trump to reconsider.
"Every member of our congressional delegation has spoken up on those issues when they came up," said Shay Chan Hodges, a Democrat who ran against Gabbard in the primary election.
Democratic Hawaii state Rep. Angus McKelvey said he's "morally outraged" that Gabbard did not publicly criticize Trump's recent pick of Bannon.
"To be out there espousing what we all believed in and supporting Sanders and to turn around and do this...it's a slap in his face, it's a slap in everybody's face that really believes in this as more than words and hyperbole," McKelvey said.
Tim Vandeveer, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said he saw Gabbard's meeting with Trump as positive.
"It's important that we take the opportunity," Vandeveer said. "The reality is, President Trump is going to be in the Oval Office very soon, and that's very troubling to many Democrats, but the reality is, we've still got to have a voice."
This version corrects that that Gabbard had resigned as vice chairman of DNC, not chairman.