Jealous Erupts at Reporter Over Whether He Identifies as Socialist: ‘Are You F***ing Kidding Me?’


• August 8, 2018 10:58 am


Democratic Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous snapped at a reporter who asked him repeatedly Wednesday if he identified as a socialist, saying, "Are you f—ing kidding me?"

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan called Jealous a "far-left socialist" in an interview with the New York Times last weekend. Washington Post reporter Erin Cox noted to the strongly progressive Jealous at a press conference that Hogan had tagged him with the "socialist" label and asked for his response.

"What is your response to, first, the term socialist, whether you embrace and identify [as] it to any degree, and secondly, the charge about whether the state can afford you?" she asked.

Jealous implicitly compared himself to President Barack Obama and civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., in his response.

"You know, I about fell out of my chair when I read … that Hogan was out there calling me names, and then it occurred to me that him calling me a far-left socialist is what the Tea Party called President Obama. It's what Barry Goldwater called Martin Luther King," Jealous said.

He said Hogan's name-calling showed Republicans are "scared." Jealous said he was a venture capitalist who invests in growing businesses, before going on to attack Hogan as being "lazy" in bolstering Maryland's economy.

"Not to point too fine a point on it, but do you identify with the term socialist?" Cox asked.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" Jealous asked, laughing mirthlessly. "Is that a fine point? OK."

Jealous' running mate Susie Turnbull took the microphone shortly after and said Jealous was trying to run a "positive campaign." Jealous is the former president of the NAACP and has never held elected office.

Jealous is running on a stridently progressive platform and has the endorsement of democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).

"Go ahead, call me a socialist," Jealous said, when asked earlier this summer if he was so liberal he'd help Republicans win. "That doesn’t change the fact I’m a venture capitalist."

Hogan enjoys high approval ratings as he seeks re-election in the traditionally blue state.

Cox later tweeted she didn't feel Jealous was cursing at her.

UPDATE: Wednesday, 2:21 P.M.: This article was updated to identify the reporter as Washington Post reporter Erin Cox.

Published under: Maryland