Why Possible Trump VP Pick Tulsi Gabbard Is Visiting Mar-a-Lago Soon

All of a sudden, people are abuzz over a small nonprofit’s fundraiser at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club–because it features possible Trump VP pick Tulsi Gabbard.

Tulsi Gabbard attends a live taping of "Hannity" at Fox News Channel Studios in New York City, on Sept. 13, 2023. (Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

Event organizer Joni Bryan told The Epoch Times she is happy that the program supporting her Constitution-awareness group, the 917 Society, is getting more exposure. The group is named after Constitution Day, Sept. 17.

But—spoiler alert—Ms. Bryan asserts: the former Hawaii congresswoman’s March 7 appearance at the ritzy resort in Palm Beach, Florida, is unrelated to President Trump’s big announcement involving Ms. Gabbard and others.

On Feb. 20, President Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, revealed at a Fox News town hall in Greenville, S.C., that Ms. Gabbard, a former Democrat, had made his “short list” of possible running mates.

Long before that revelation, Ms. Bryan had been in contact with Ms. Gabbard about serving as a guest speaker for the group’s annual gala.

Online, some people have suggested that, by appearing at Mar-a-Lago, Ms. Gabbard was becoming more directly aligned with President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) movement.

That may or may not be the case, Ms. Bryan said, adding, “We want every American to be proud of the Constitution. That’s not a MAGA thing. That’s an American thing.”

Personal Meeting With 45

Ms. Gabbard made an unsuccessful run for president in 2020 as a Democrat, when former Vice President Joe Biden became her party’s nominee. He went on to be declared the victor of the matchup with President Trump, an outcome that many dispute to this day.

In 2022, Ms. Gabbard quit the Democratic Party because she was fed up with its increasingly radical, “woke” ideology. In recent months, Ms. Gabbard has been critical of Democrats’ various attempts to keep President Trump off the 2024 general election ballot.

Adding fuel to the VP speculation, Ms. Gabbard spoke of her admiration for the former president during a Feb. 22 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C.

She said President Trump’s sole remaining GOP challenger, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, has cast President Trump in a false light.

“She claims that President Trump only cares about himself and that he’s doing all that he’s doing only for himself,” Ms. Gabbard said. “If that were the case, wouldn’t he just walk away from all this? Walk away from the headaches and the attacks, and all the stress that he’s enduring right now?”

Ms. Gabbard said she has met with the 45th president and has spoken with him “at length.” She also said she has witnessed “his heartfelt interactions” with her military friends.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet members of the US military during a stop at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, on Dec. 27, 2018. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

“And I’ve seen how he has touched their hearts and moved them to tears as he expressed his appreciation for their service and their sacrifice—no cameras, no crowds, just that heartfelt conveyance of appreciation.”

She said her interactions with President Trump have given her insights about “what motivates him.”

“And it’s got nothing to do with what the Washington establishment is accusing him of,” she said, calling him a fighter who shows “strength and resilience.”

Reasons for Mar-a-Lago Invite

Ms. Bryan said she got the idea to ask Ms. Gabbard to speak for the 917 Society’s Celebrating the Constitution event because she is a military veteran and has been an outspoken defender of the Constitution.

Ms. Gabbard was able to fit the program into her schedule this year—and the date has been set for months, Ms. Bryan said.

On Feb. 22, some media outlets trumpeted that a source had “exclusively” provided a copy of the 917 Society’s invitation to Ms. Gabbard’s speech. But the event hasn’t been kept secret. The group’s Facebook page has been promoting Ms. Gabbard’s speech since at least Jan. 27.

Ms. Bryan said The Epoch Times was the first media outlet to contact her and ask how the program came together.

Group’s Message Suppressed

In any case, Ms. Bryan said she is grateful to see the word spreading about her group’s event, thanks to the lucky timing of President Trump’s revelation.

Generally, she said, her group’s social media posts get little traction online because the word, “Constitution,” has somehow become controversial. Ms. Bryan sees evidence that the group’s posts are censored and “shadow-banned,” or suppressed.

The group raises money to put printed copies of the Constitution into the hands of schoolchildren and find fun ways to educate them about it, Ms. Bryan said.

A portion of the ticket price for the Mar-a-Lago event is tax-deductible; information is available at the917society.org. The event also features another former presidential candidate, conservative commentator Larry Elder.

“We want people to honor the Constitution,” Ms. Bryan said. “We’re trying to unify our country around it.”

The Nashville woman and a handful of volunteers run the group. She says it’s surprising how few Americans understand the Constitution or have even read it through a single time.

Ms. Bryan said her own lack of familiarity with the Constitution became painfully apparent about a decade ago, when a civil rights attorney asked her if she had ever read the document. She was forced to admit that she hadn’t.

That experience inspired Ms. Bryan to start the 917 Society.

The way that Ms. Gabbard has spoken out about the Constitution fits perfectly with the 917 Society’s mission, Ms. Bryan said.

In 2021, Ms. Gabbard criticized congressional leaders for targeting “domestic terrorists” in ways that were undermining people’s constitutional rights.

Shocking Experience

During a speech last year at a conservative gathering, Ms. Gabbard recounted the surprising way that her Democrat colleagues reacted to a Constitution-related activity during her first year in Congress, 2013.

As a freshman congresswoman, she responded to an invitation to participate in the annual Constitution Day reading of the nation’s foundational document into the Congressional Record. She was pleased to be part of that reminder of the oath that leaders take to uphold the Constitution.

Yet few of her Democrat colleagues showed up. When she asked why, Ms. Gabbard said she got a response that was “disheartening” and “shocking:” Democrats told her they didn’t participate because “that’s a right-wing, Republican thing” to do.

Ms. Gabbard ran for president as a Democrat in 2020. But she has become increasingly aligned with the views of today’s Republicans and political conservatives. In late 2022, Ms. Gabbard announced that she was leaving the Democrat party.

Almost immediately after that, people started speculating that President Trump might choose her as his potential vice president. Greg Gutfeld, a host of Fox News’ “The Five” commentary show, was among the earliest adopters of the “Gabbard-for-VP” theory.

Mr. Gutfeld commended Ms. Gabbard for her individualism, her “achievements and ideas,” rather than “skin color and where she was born ... [or] whatever her background is.” She stands out as “different,” he said, and “I think she’s going to be Trump’s VP. So that’s where this is going.”

Others have stated that Ms. Gabbard might be a good choice for a military-related cabinet post.

 Authored by Janice Hisle via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

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