McConnell: Democrats taking 'abrupt left turn toward socialism'
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden attends first church service as president in DC, stops at local bagel shop Harry Reid 'not particularly optimistic' Biden will push to eliminate filibuster Senators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-Ky.) knocked Democrats on Wednesday, arguing that the party is moving toward socialism — an issue Republicans want to make a focal point ahead of the 2020 election.

"Our nation has watched the Democratic Party take a sharp and abrupt left turn toward socialism. A flawed ideology that has been rejected time and again across the world is now driving the marquee policy proposals of the new House Democrat majority," McConnell said from the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Republicans have seized on socialism as a wedge issue as freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTexas man charged for alleged role in Capitol riots, online death threats to Ocasio-Cortez DC residents jumped at opportunity to pay for meals for National Guardsmen Tensions running high after gun incident near House floor MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBoycott sham impeachment Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Sanders: Senate may use budget reconciliation to pass Biden agenda MORE (I-Vt.), who both identify as democratic socialists, have electrified the party's progressive base in recent years.

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President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE, during his State of the Union speech, sparked a divided reaction from Democrats when he pledged that the United States would not become a socialist country. 

McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, pointed to the progressive "Green New Deal" as an example of the shift within the Democratic Party. It marked the latest time the Senate GOP leader has brought up his concerns about socialism this week. 

Speaking to reporters in Kentucky on Monday, he said that it was a "bigger threat" than people might think. 

"I never thought in my lifetime we would be debating the virtues of capitalism … having serious presidential candidates suggesting we ought to have socialism in this country," he said. "We're going to have a great debate in 2020 about the very essence of America."