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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' Senate leaders face pushback on tying debt fight to defense bill Former Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 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-CortezPressure grows to remove Boebert from committees Kevin McCarthy is hostage to the GOP's 'exotic wing' Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWTO faces renewed scrutiny amid omicron threat Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan 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 TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence 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."