Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), a combat veteran, says she resigned her post from the DNC in order to endorse Bernie Sanders for president because she "could no longer stand on the sidelines as elections are taking place to determine who our potential next commander in chief could be.
Gabbard, who has a been a thorn in the side of the Democratic establishment, said her support and resignation "had nothing to do with DNC or DNC politics."
In October, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz caused a stir when she "uninvited" Gabbard from a Democratic primary debate. Gabbard claimed it was because she called for more debates at a time when the debate schedule was more favorable for Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz said Gabbard "chose not to come."
Wasserman Schultz called the debate controversy a distraction and said the focus should be on the "Republican circus."
Gabbard later said it would be "egregious" for the party establishment to punish Democratic candidates for participating in non-DNC sanctioned debates and town halls.
DNC vice chair R.J. Rybak defended Gabbard during the "disinvited" kerfuffle and said Wasserman Schultz "went on television and repeated a knowing untruth about Tulsi Gabbard." Rybak also said he has "serious questions" about Wasserman Schultz's leadership and ability to grow the party.
"It's going to be essential for the leader of the party to be able to say to everyone, look, it's been fair, we need to now, let's all pull together. That's what Democrats want. I think the only thing that's going to mess that up, frankly, is that I don't think the Chair, right now, is in the position to be that peacemaker who builds that big tent for all of us," Rybak said at the time.
On Morning Joe today Gabbard said her decision to support presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had nothing to do with the DNC.
"This had nothing to do with the DNC or DNC politics," Gabbard said of her endorsement on Monday's broadcast of MSNBC's Morning Joe. "This had everything to do with my decision that I could no longer stand on the sidelines as elections are taking place to determine who our potential next commander in chief could be."
"As a soldier and as a veteran this is incredibly personal and it's incredibly important because I think this is the most important job of a president is to be our commander in chief," Gabbard said to co-host Mika Brzezinski. "There's a very clear contrast and clear difference when it comes to our two Democratic candidates and who will exercise good judgment, who will stop us from continuing these interventionist regime change wars that we've seen in Iraq and Libya and now in Syria that have cost our country so much in terms of American lives, trillions and trillions of dollars, what to speak of the hundreds of thousands of lives in the Middle East that have been lost to this and the impact on our economy here at home."
Gabbard explains why Sanders would be a more judicious commander in chief as opposed to Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton:
"Bernie Sanders is that candidate who will not take us, service members and our country, into these interventionist wars and Hillary Clinton, through her record, has proven that she will continue that and that's what's important to me and I think it's important for our voters to know before they go and head to the polls tomorrow and into the coming weeks," Gabbard said.