Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Praises 'My Tio Bernie Sanders' During NYC 2020 Campaign Endorsement

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered lavish praise of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders during a 2020 presidential campaign rally in Queens Saturday.

Ocasio-Cortez introduced Sanders during the Queensbridge Park rally, touting his role in changing U.S. politics and efforts to kickstart the "mass mobilization of working class people at the ballot box."

The New York Democratic representative gushed over Sanders during her official 2020 primary endorsement and described their relationship as being almost like family. Ocasio-Cortez touted Sanders' "non-stop advocacy" for working class people, recent graduates and minorities.

"Bernie Sanders proved you can run a grassroots campaign and win in an America where we almost thought that was impossible," Ocasio-Cortez said of Sanders amid uproarious applause. "And with that, I would like to introduce the man, the ally, I call him tio Bernie, maybe to my goddaughter he's abuelo, but he's my tio Bernie Sanders." (Tio is a Spanish word for 'uncle').

Ocasio-Cortez then welcomed Sanders on-stage in front of the estimated 20,000. AC/DC's classic song "Back in Black" was turned up and the Vermont senator emerged to raucous cheering.

The freshman congresswoman repeatedly applauded Sanders for supporting causes such as Medicare-for-All and assisting recent graduates with crippling student loan debt. Ocasio-Cortez also credited Sanders with developing what she described as one of the best candidate fields in Democratic presidential primary history.

"Bernie Sanders did not do these things because they were popular," she said. "In 2016, he fundamentally changed politics in America...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."

Ocasio-Cortez discussed her own career trajectory of going from a "sexually-harassed waitress in downtown Manhattan" to a member of Congress in under one year. She thanked fellow congressional freshmen who have rejected corporate PAC money. She said support of issues including Medicare for All and climate change reduction are all "thanks to Bernie."

She applauded Sanders for his "enormous, consistent non-stop advocacy" of working class people and she said "the only way we are going to win this thing" is if working class voters stay home next November.

Ocasio-Cortez repeatedly told rally attendees that Sanders is the country's greatest symbol of systemic change at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

"It's not just what we're fighting for, but how we're going to do it. One of our top priorities is not just defeating Donald Trump but defeating the system of which he is a symptom," she continued.

"The halls of Congress are no joke. It is no joke to stand up to corporate power and established interests. It's not just about standing up and saying these things. But behind closed doors your arm is twisted, and every trick in the book, psychological and otherwise, is used to get us to abandon the working class."

Ocasio-Cortez concluded her introduction by calling for the Democratic Party to embrace a "fundamentally positive and welcoming movement."

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto and filmmaker Michael Moore also offered endorsements of Sanders during the Saturday event.

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Bernie Sanders emerged to AC/DC's "Back in Black" Saturday in Queens after Ocasio-Cortez endorsed his 2020 campaign JOHANNES EISELE / Contributor/Getty Images