Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Endorsed Bernie Sanders Because His Heart Attack Was A 'Gut Check'

At a huge comeback rally for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez officially endorsed the 78-year-old Democratic presidential candidate on the heels of a recent heart attack scare that temporarily sidelined him from the campaign trail.

According to The Hill, Ocasio-Cortez told NPR after the rally that the reason she endorsed the firebrand progressive candidate were due in part to the "feminist values" she claims Sanders' campaign stands for. That response came after she was asked why she didn't offer Warren -- a leading progressive candidate -- her endorsement.

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

The New York lawmaker told NPR that Sanders' recent health scare was what pushed her over the edge and said it would have been "dishonest" to sit on the sidelines as the fierce battle for the Democratic primary race unfolds.

"I feel decided," she said. "It would be dishonest of me not to let folks know how I feel about this race."

Ocasio-Cortez also explained that she supports Sanders' campaign not just because it's to win the office of the presidency, but because it's for the bigger picture in what she describes as a much-needed "mass movement" in America.

"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 said. "This is about creating a mass movement."

An endorsement from Ocasio-Cortez -- a politician known for her popularity with young voters thanks to her mastery of social media messaging -- could have happened at the perfect time for Sanders. His poll numbers have noticeably dipped as fellow progressive candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has surged over the past several weeks -- even beating out former Vice President Joe Biden for the lead in several national and early-voting state polls.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Sanders was the only candidate to lose support in the wake of the latest round of Democratic debates earlier this week. The drop in support was small, as the candidate fell from 39.1 percent to 38.8 percent following the debate.

Sanders also received an official endorsement from another member of "The Squad," Rep. Ilhan Omar, who tweeted her support for the candidate in a series of tweets on Wednesday. The Vermont senator is also expected to land an endorsement from another member of "The Squad," Rep. Rashida Tlaib.