Ben Jealous, Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, wants everyone to know that he may be a progressive but he’s no socialist.
Jealous is one of several Bernie Sanders-style Democrats who’s triumphed during this midterm cycle. His Republican opponent, current Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, has taken to painting him as too far left for the state to handle. During a press event on Wednesday, Jealous vehemently sought to dispel such critiques after a reporter asked him if he considered himself a socialist.
“When you see conservatives like Hogan name-calling, you realize that they’re scared,” he said. “What I am is a venture capitalist, and what I do is invest in growing businesses.”
After the reporter pressed further, Jealous appeared fed up with the question, answering simply, “Are you fucking kidding me?”
The video is worth watching in full.
Later that day, Jealous issued an apology for his language and clarified his stance further in a tweet. “I’m a venture capitalist, not a socialist. I have never referred to myself as a socialist, nor would I govern as one,” he wrote.
I want to apologize to @ErinatThePost for my inappropriate language in response to her question earlier today.— Ben Jealous for Governor (MD) (@BenJealous) August 8, 2018
As a former journalist, I know how important it is for a free society to respect reporters and answer their questions honestly.
Let me answer @ErinatThePost’s question once and for all.— Ben Jealous for Governor (MD) (@BenJealous) August 8, 2018
I’m a venture capitalist, not a socialist. I have never referred to myself as a socialist nor would I govern as one.
Much like democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jealous supports a hefty list of progressive policy goals like Medicare-for-all and free in-state college tuition.
It’s evident, however, that he’d rather steer clear of at least one particular label.