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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatient advocates launch drug pricing ad campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs War of words at the White House 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-CortezOcasio-Cortez, Thunberg, Rapinoe make BBC's 100 most inspiring women of 2019 Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey endorses Biden Democratic strategist on Sanders debate performance: 'I just think he might've topped out' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz Democrats have reason to worry after the last presidential debate Krystal Ball on Sanders debate performance: 'He absolutely hit it out of the park' 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 John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff 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."