Karen Bass: 'I'm not a socialist, I'm not a communist'

Karen Bass: 'I'm not a socialist, I'm not a communist'
© Bonnie Cash

Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassPatients are dying unnecessarily from organ donation policy failures Hispanic caucus report takes stock of accomplishments with eye toward 2021 Bogeymen of the far left deserve a place in any Biden administration MORE (D-Calif.), a contender to be presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' MORE's running mate, denied being a “communist” or a “socialist” during an interview on Monday.

“I’m not a socialist. I’m not a communist. I’ve belonged to one party my entire life and that’s the Democratic Party, and I’m a Christian,” Bass, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told NBC News.

As Bass’s name has emerged in discussions about Biden's running mate, Republicans have cited her multiple visits to Cuba and now-renounced praise of Fidel Castro after his 2016 death. The issue is particularly contentious in Florida, a must-win state for President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE where most polling shows him behind Biden.

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Bass also told NBC she disagreed with characterizing all Cuban Americans as in lockstep on one issue.

“I don’t believe that it’s right to paint the Latino population with one brush, even the Cuban population,” Bass said. “The Latino population is often painted as only being interested in immigration, and the Black population is painted as only interested in race. I don’t think any of those are true."

She also depicted the scrutiny of her as a sideshow meant to distract from the coronavirus crisis.

“How do [Republicans] explain the death rate in Florida? How do they explain the fact that COVID is completely out of control in the United States?" Bass asked. "How do they explain the fact that the economy dropped to its lowest point in U.S. history? They have nothing to say, so resurrecting the ghost of Joe McCarthy and George Wallace is their best game right now.”

Bass previously addressed the Cuba issue on Sunday, telling NBC’s Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddMurkowski: Supreme Court nominee should not be taken up before election Republican senator says plans to confirm justice before election 'completely consistent with the precedent' Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response MORE she would not express condolences over Castro's death if given the chance to do it again.

The same day, she told Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceDemocrats urge Biden to resist filibuster, court-packing calls The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting First presidential debate to cover coronavirus, Supreme Court MORE that she understood “an awful lot more now” than she did in the 1970s, and that “the Castro regime did not have the same freedoms we do.”