Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, recovering from a recent heart attack, plans to formally return to the campaign trail Saturday with a rally in Queens and the high-profile endorsement of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, according to news media reports.
Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx) is set to join Sanders at the rally in Long Island City just outside her district, The Washington Post first reported.
Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), along with Ocasio-Cortez, members of the so-called Squad of progressive freshman House members who have been critical of their party's moderate wing, also have announced or will announce their formal support of Sanders.
The Sanders campaign promoted an event to be held Saturday afternoon at Queensbridge Park, a venue with a view of Manhattan.
Sanders, at the Democratic primary debate in Ohio on Tuesday night, teased that a “special guest” would be at his rally. He made the remark in response to a question about his health.
Sanders, 78, a Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats, was hospitalized Oct. 1 in Las Vegas with chest pain. He had two stents inserted.
Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described Democratic socialist and frequent foil of Republican President Donald Trump, volunteered for Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign.
Her endorsement of Sanders would come as a blow to Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a front-runner for the Democratic nomination who also is carrying the progressive mantle.
After the Tuesday night debate, Omar announced her endorsement of Sanders.
“Bernie is leading a working-class movement to defeat Donald Trump that transcends generation, ethnicity and geography,” Omar said in a statement.
Sanders’ surrogates said he is as healthy as ever and pointed to the state of his campaign finances as evidence that he is ready to continue fighting for the nomination.
His campaign raised the most money of all Democratic presidential candidates in the third quarter — between July and September. He brought in $25.2 million and has $33.7 million on hand.
New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn), who endorsed Sanders in 2016 and supports his 2020 bid, noted that the senator raised funds primarily from small-dollar donors.
During the debate, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “Tax the rich.”
Sanders replied: “When we are in the White House, that is exactly what we will do.”