Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia Here are the 10 senators who voted against Trump's North American trade deal Artist paints Michelle Obama, other women as battered in campaign against domestic violence MORE (D-N.Y.) said Saturday that a heart attack suffered by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders over handling of feud with Warren On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans MORE (I-Vt.) in recent days was a "gut check" that spurred her decision to publicly endorse Sanders' candidacy for president.

In an interview with NPR, following a massive rally in New York City, Ocasio-Cortez endorsed the Vermont senator. The congresswoman said that her decision to support Sanders came from "feminist values" that his campaign embodied. The remark was a response to a question about why Ocasio-Cortez didn't endorse Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders over handling of feud with Warren On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans MORE (D-Mass.), another progressive in the race.

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"For me, this is not about 'why not any other candidate,'" she said. "The fact that [Sanders] has been fighting for these issues for so long struck me in a very personal way."

"One of the things that's so important about what Senator Sanders is talking about, and what this campaign is about, is that it's far larger than a presidential campaign," she added. "This is about creating a mass movement."

Ocasio-Cortez added that it would have been "dishonest" to continue remaining on the sidelines as the Democratic Party's primary unfolds.

"I feel decided," the congresswoman told NPR. "It would be dishonest of me not to let folks know how I feel about this race."

Her endorsement, alongside that of Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair endorses Sanders MORE (D-Minn.) and the reported anticipated endorsement of Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Michigan governor urges Zuckerberg to enforce community guidelines after hate speech, threats surface Ayanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia MORE (D-Mich.), comes as Warren has surged in polling in recent weeks and follows on the heels of a strong debate performance by Sanders on Tuesday.

The two senators have battled for control of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Sanders-Warren feud: 'Don't play to the pundits, play to voters' MORE remains the establishment favorite in the race. Biden has led the field in most polls for months but has seen his lead decrease in key primary states in recent weeks.