Ocasio-Cortez, progressives accuse Trump of using socialism as scare tactic

Progressive Democrats accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' MORE of engaging in scare tactics for his warning in the State of the Union address about new calls for socialism in the United States.

“I thought it was great. I think he's scared,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOmar: Biden not the candidate to 'tackle a lot of the systematic challenges that we have' Ocasio-Cortez calls out Democrats for refusing to impeach Trump Ocasio-Cortez reveals new policies for campaign aides with children MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters when asked about Trump’s remarks.  “He sees that everything is closing in on him and he knows that he's losing the battle of public opinion.”

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Ocasio-Cortez is a democratic socialist who has soared to political fame following her victory in a Democratic primary last summer. She has joined other liberals in the House in calling for a single-payer health care system and has also voiced support for higher marginal tax rates on the wealthiest households, as well as the “Green New Deal” that would fund programs to create clean energy jobs.

The New York lawmaker described Trump’s comments as “fabulous” and said he “has no substantive proposals to counter.”

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalProgressives push for changes to Pelosi drug pricing plan Pelosi woos progressives on prescription drug pricing plan Democrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril MORE (D-Wash.), a co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, argued the group’s proposals aren’t extreme, noting a number of them have been implemented in countries in the Western world.

“I think he’s, you know, he's worried about the good ideas like Medicare for all and taxes on the wealthiest and a green new deal and he wants to paint it as socialism,” she told reporters.

“And I think he's worried and he wants to paint it as socialism, but these are actually policies that every industrialized country in the world almost has instituted and built their societies on.”

Trump in his speech said socialism had led to the economic and political disaster in Venezuela.

“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination and control,” he said. “We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”

Republicans gave Trump a standing ovation for this segment of his speech.

Freshman Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTlaib says she's 'in such disbelief' Pence brought eight cars to Michigan island where they are banned Pence's eight-car motorcade ruffles feathers on Michigan's Mackinac Island, where cars are banned Democrats must embrace Israel and denounce anti-Semitism in the party MORE (D-Mich.), who has been a staunch critic of the president since taking office, accused Trump of not understanding what socialism is, adding she believes his rhetoric has further divided the country.

“I mean look, for me I think a lot of people don't understand it [socialism]. I mean the library and the post office is socialism — so many of the things that we have in our country that we all value is very much based on those values of equality,” she said.