Democratic New Jersey Sen. and presidential candidate Cory Booker affirmed that he is a capitalist and not a socialist during a Monday night interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
“Where are you on this discussion about socialism? Now, this country has existed, as you know, with mixed capitalism,” Matthews began. “That’s how it works. We have free markets, but we also have a social safety net, and we also have anti-trust and things like that. It’s always been a mix of capitalism and socialism. What’s wrong with being for capitalism?”
“I am for capitalism. I’m tired of companies engaging in socialism,” Booker answered. “It’s true. I live in Jersey. I live in Jersey. The Passaic River is polluted because they outsource their costs into my river and didn’t pay up for it. We now have a super fund site from corporations pushing out their costs onto the public. So, I’m a capitalist. Monopolies are not capitalism.”
“Okay, how about the word ‘socialism,’ where are you on that? Are you a socialist?” Matthews responded. (RELATED: Pence Frames 2020 As Referendum On Socialism)
“I am not a socialist,” Booker added. “I am a Democrat. I believe in fundamental Democratic principles.”
A number of other 2020 presidential contenders have taken stances on socialism.
Earlier this month, Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said, “I’m not a socialist, I’m a Democrat. I’m proud of that. And I worked both in the private sector and the public sector.”
Conversely, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado avoided answering the question of whether or not he considers himself a capitalist on multiple occasions, when asked by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough earlier this month.
A Wall Street Journal poll from earlier this month showed that only 18 percent of Americans view socialism positively, while 50 percent have a negative view.