AOC endorses Bernie Sanders at huge Queens campaign rally

Adam Warner
October 19, 2019 - 1:39 pm
Sanders AOC

Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images


NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination at a rally in Queens on Saturday.

The two left-leaning Democrats made the endorsement official at Queensbridge Park in Long Island City on Saturday afternoon during the “Bernie’s Back” rally.

More than 20,000 people were said to be in attendance at the rally, which included such progressive names as filmmaker Michael Moore and Queens DA candidate Tiffany Caban.

"I'm proud to say that the only reason that I had any hope in launching a longshot campaign for Congress is because Bernie Sanders proved that you can run a grassroots campaign and win in an America where we almost thought it wasn't possible," Ocasio-Cortez said. "It wasn't until I heard of a man by the name of Bernie Sanders that I began to question and assert and recognize my inherent value as a human being that deserves health care, housing, education, and a living wage."

Ocasio-Cortez praised Sanders for his support of progressive policies.

“Bernie Sanders did not do these things because they were popular," she said. "He fought for these aims and these ends when they came at the highest political cost in America. No one wanted to question this system."

While she didn't specifically say she was endorsing him, Sanders said she will be campaigning with him across the country.

Energized by thousands of backers gathered for a Queens rally, the 78-year-old Vermont senator said, "When I look at this huge crowd, brothers and sisters, I have no doubt that the political revolution is going to sweep this country, sweep Donald Trump out of office and bring the change that this country has long needed."

He said he was "more ready than ever to carry on with you the epic struggle that we face today. I am more than ready to assume the office of president of the United States."

To raucous applause, he declared: "I am back."

It was the start of what he is calling a "vigorous" return to campaigning as he tries to give his stagnant bid an instant shot of energy.

Sanders, 78, was back in New York and back on the campaign trail after suffering a heart attack on Oct. 1.

He made his first appearance since the health scare at Tuesday’s Democratic debate, where he appeared healthy and ready to accept an endorsement.

While he pledged during this week's presidential debate to move forward with the campaign, he's moving cautiously in the short term. The rally in Queens is his only scheduled appearance before he returns to Iowa late next week.

AOC, one of the most high-profile freshman Democrats with many young followers, shares similar policies as Sanders, including universal healthcare and a Green New Deal.

Her endorsement is expected to bring some new life into Sanders’ stagnant poll numbers.

The endorsement from the 30-year-old progressive star "send the message that the movement is growing, that it's gaining influence, that it's gaining traction," Sanders' campaign manager Faiz Shakir said.

He predicted that the newly announced support from Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who will not be present Saturday, would help Sanders generate significantly more support from young people and minorities going forward.

"Those are two people who I think have immense power to mobilize young people, and I promise you you'll be seeing them in Iowa, but not only in Iowa, but around the country, trying to get people engaged around the issues," Shakir said.

AOC has publicly weighed whether to endorse Sanders or Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

She and Sanders have campaigned together before, but that was right before the 2018 midterm elections when she secured her House seat.

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