Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is stepping down from her post as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Bernie Sanders' presidential bid.
Gabbard made the announcement during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." Gabbard, an Army National Guard major who served in Iraq, said she backs Sanders because she wants a "commander in chief who has foresight" and "exercises good judgment."
Sanders has sharply attacked rival Hillary Clinton for her vote supporting the Iraq war as a New York senator. Clinton has said her vote was a mistake.
"Congresswoman Gabbard is one of the important voices of a new generation of leaders," Sanders said in a statement. "As a veteran of the Iraq War, she understands the cost of war and is fighting to create a foreign policy that not only protects America but keeps us out of perpetual wars that we should not be in."
Gabbard's announcement comes a day after Clinton decisively defeated Sanders in South Carolina and ahead of voting by nearly a dozen states Tuesday. Gabbard has clashed publicly with DNC officials in the past. Last year, Gabbard said she was disinvited from the first Democratic primary debate in Nevada after she publicly called for more candidate debates.
In a statement, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called Gabbard a "role model" as the first Hindu elected to Congress and one of the body's first female combat veterans. "I look forward to continuing to work alongside her when our party unites behind whoever emerges as our nominee," she added.
Gabbard's move won the approval of one of Sanders' celebrity supporters Sunday. Actress Susan Sarandon took to Twitter to thank Gabbard for "being on the right side of history even tho it might cost u dearly."