Maxine Waters: 'The Democratic party is not a socialist party'

Maxine Waters: 'The Democratic party is not a socialist party'
© Anna Moneymaker

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersWhite House, McConnell come out against House bill on Ex-Im Bank Divides over China, fossil fuels threaten House deal to reboot Ex-Im Bank Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers unleash on Zuckerberg | House passes third election interference bill | Online extremism legislation advances in House | Google claims quantum computing breakthrough MORE (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that the rise of more socialist candidates doesn't mean the entire Democratic Party is embracing socialism.

In an interview with journalist John Harwood at CNBC’s Capital Exchange event, Waters, one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE's most vocal critics, said that democratic socialists such as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (I-Vt.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are simply Democrats who focus more on protecting Americans from Wall Street.

"I just don't think that our party should be identified because we have a few people who seem to be to the left of the left. Yes, Bernie Sanders calls himself ... a democratic socialist, but he votes with the Democrats. He does not want to get out of the Democratic lane," Waters said.

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"I think — I consider him basically a Democrat who is focused on Wall Street and talks about Wall Street an awful lot and wants to make sure that Wall Street is not taking advantage of the average citizen," she continued.

Waters added that attacks from Republicans accusing Democrats of embracing socialism wholeheartedly were going too far.

"I think that's an exaggeration. The Democratic Party is not a socialist party," Waters said.

Democrats were rocked last month when the No. 4 House Democrat, Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.) was defeated in his primary by Ocasio-Cortez, who ran to his left.

Since then, Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders have teamed up to campaign for progressive candidates around the country, speaking at rallies in Kansas this week for a slew of local Democratic challengers in the traditionally GOP-held state.

“People told me Kansas was a Republican state. It sure doesn’t look that way," Sanders said told a cheering crowd last week.

“Whether you live in Vermont or the Bronx or Kansas, you are outraged by a situation in which three people in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of America,” he said.