Top DNC official leaves post to back Sanders
© Greg Nash

A leader of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced Sunday that she is stepping down from her post to support the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Healthcare: Senate votes to begin ObamaCare repeal debate | McCain returns to vote | GOP floats scaled-down healthcare bill OPINION | Healthcare vote a political death wish for GOP in 2018 Senate parliamentarian: More parts of ObamaCare repeal will need 60 votes MORE (I-Vt.).

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Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardHouse panel approves 6.5B defense policy bill Jane Sanders starts group to boost ‘progressive voices’ Lawmakers renew push to end federal ban on marijuana MORE (D-Hawaii), who serves as a vice chairwoman of the DNC, announced her endorsement in an interview with NBC's “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday morning.

"I think it’s most important for us, as we look at our choices as to who our next commander in chief will be, is to recognize the necessity to have a commander in chief who has foresight, who exercises good judgment, who looks beyond the consequences, looks at the consequences of the actions they're looking to take, before they take those actions, so we don't continue to find ourselves in these failures that have resulted in chaos in the Middle East and so much loss of life," Gabbard said.

Gabbard is the fourth member of Congress to endorse Sanders in his battle against Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump turns up heat on AG Sessions over recusal Mellman: Trump love? Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate Judiciary reportedly drops Manafort subpoena | Kushner meets with House Intel | House passes Russia sanctions deal | What to watch at 'hacker summer camp' MORE. She is his most high-profile congressional endorsement to date.

The Hawaii Democrat's tenure at the DNC has not been without controversy. In October, she complained she was “disinvited” from a debate after she urged the party to hold more debates. Sanders later offered her a seat with his campaign.

Gabbard has been described as one of the Democratic Party's next rising stars. Still in her first term, she is the first Hindu elected to Congress and the first person born in American Samoa. She is also one of only two female combat veterans elected to Congress.

"Today I accepted Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's resignation as a Vice-Chair of the DNC. The Democratic National Committee is grateful for her service,” DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement, calling Gabbard a “role model.”

“I look forward to continuing to work alongside her when our Party unites behind whoever emerges as our nominee.”

--This report was updated at 11:31 a.m.