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

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline MORE (D-N.Y.) said Saturday that a heart attack suffered by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Trump, Biden have one debate goal: Don't lose The role (un)happiness plays in how people vote 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 WarrenNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Democrats blast Trump after report reveals he avoided income taxes for 10 years: 'Disgusting' Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds 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 OmarOmar urges Democrats to focus on nonvoters over 'disaffected Trump voters' Omar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' MORE (D-Minn.) and the reported anticipated endorsement of Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTrump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' George Conway: 'Trump is like a practical joke that got out of hand' Pelosi endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary challenge 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 BidenNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Biden campaign sells 'I paid more income taxes than Trump' stickers Trump, Biden have one debate goal: Don't lose 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.