Ocasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make

Ocasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make
© Greg Nash

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez challenger drops out of GOP primary Ocasio-Cortez posts experience getting antibody tested for COVID-19 The continuous whipsawing of climate change policy MORE (D) on Saturday praised Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel Biden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden MORE's (I-Vt.) long history of fighting for working class people like her, saying that her early endorsement of the 2020 presidential candidate served as an "authentic decision to let people know how I feel and where I am."

"As the senator mentioned, last February I was waitressing at a restaurant in downtown Manhattan and I didn’t have health insurance, and I wasn’t being paid a living wage, and I was facing sexual harassment at work, and to think now that I’m on the other side of this as a member of Congress, and understanding the pressures there are on the inside to conform," Ocasio-Cortez told CBS News in an interview following a massive rally in New York City in which she officially endorsed Sanders. "And to have seen them and experience them firsthand, it’s astounded me that the senator has been there fighting for me, long before I got to the halls of Congress, and fighting for people like me."

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"Some folks want to look at this from a political strategy perspective. But for me, it's just coming from an authentic place," the former organizer for Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign added. 

Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the most outspoken members of the Democratic Caucus since becoming the youngest woman sworn into Congress in January. The freshman lawmaker has repeatedly raised issues related to President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE, climate change and taxes. 

During the latest 2020 Democratic presidential debate, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, "tax the rich," as candidates debated policies such as Medicare For All, which has been a centerpiece of Sanders' campaign. 

Sanders' rally in New York capped a week in which he scored endorsements from Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOvernight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts Progressives demand defense budget cuts amid coronavirus pandemic Ocasio-Cortez endorses progressive Democrat in Georgia congressional primary MORE (D-Minn) and Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOvernight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts Progressives demand defense budget cuts amid coronavirus pandemic Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil MORE (D-Mich.). The endorsements came as fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPentagon charts its own course on COVID-19, risking Trump's ire Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D-Mass.) surges in the polls and becomes a frontrunner in the Democratic primary. 

Asked Saturday about why she didn't endorse Warren, Ocasio-Cortez said "the fact that [Sanders] has been fighting for these issues for so long struck me in a very personal way."

"For me, this is not about 'why not any other candidate,'" she said, adding that Sanders's campaign was about creating a "mass movement."