Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) criticized calls within the Democratic Party to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Wednesday and also clarified that she is a capitalist, saying the Democratic socialist push represented smaller, more extreme elements of the Democratic Party.
CNBC’s John Harwood characterized Waters as "one of the Democrats who have talked about abolishing ICE,” in an interview Wednesday.
Waters corrected him saying "I've never said a word about ICE," and that Harwood had made a mistake.
"You are not in favor of abolishing ICE?" Harwood asked.
"No," Waters replied, arguing that "We need to have, you know, an agency or a group that's responsible for what taking care of what goes on at the border and our immigration policy.”
She added that those calling for abolishing ICE "didn't really think it through and talk about it in a way that made good sense to people.”
Waters said she has been involved with the issue of family separation at the border.
“That's very important to me,” she said, “I will continue to do that. But I've not been involved in the ICE debate.”
Waters also told Harwood that she was not on board with the Democratic socialist push in the party from figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders and rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who defeated fourth-ranking Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley (NY) in his primary.
"Of course I am," Waters responded when Harwood asked if she was a capitalist.
Harwood commented that Republicans say “your party is moving so far left to flat out socialism that would damage America's economic engine.”
“I think that's an exaggeration,” she replied. “The Democratic party is not a socialist party. And because we have some very aggressive, smart people who would like to create some changes-- who may represent the extreme end of-- of our party.”
“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,” she continued. “Yes, Bernie Sanders does-- calls himself-- does call himself a Democratic Socialist, but he votes with the Democrats. He does not wanna get out of the Democratic lane.”
She said she considered Sanders “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.”