House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that socialism “is not the view” of the Democratic Party as some of the more progressive members of her caucus embrace policies Republicans are looking to paint as socialist in the run-up to the 2020 election.
Her comments came during an interview with CBS’ Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” in which Stahl asked Pelosi, a California Democrat, about members of her party supporting Medicare for All, a health care proposal Republicans have been using as an example of how the party is moving more to the left.
“And it is allowing (President Donald Trump) to say you’re all socialists,” Stahl said.
“Do you know that when we did – when Medicare was done by the Congress at the time, under Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan said, ‘Medicare will lead us to a socialist dictatorship.’ This is an ongoing theme of the Republicans,” Pelosi replied. “However – I do reject socialism as a economic system. If people have that view, that’s their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party.”
Pelosi’s comments come as 2020 Democratic hopefuls make clear where they stand on the issue, with self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, being the candidate most closely associated with the term, and other candidates, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Texas Democrat, addressing the issue head on saying they’re not socialists.
During her interview with Stahl, Pelosi also took a shot at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat who also identifies as a democratic socialist, minimizing the more progressive wing of House Democrats led by the freshman congresswoman as being “like, five people” that do not represent all progressives, including herself.
Ocasio-Cortez’s office declined to comment to CNN about Pelosi’s remark.
This story has been updated to reflect a response from Ocasio-Cortez’s office.
CNN’s Zachary Wolf and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.