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

Progressive Democrats accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth 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-CortezOcasio-Cortez endorses challenger to Democrat Lipinski in Illinois race The Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? The Memo: Times correction gives GOP lifeline in latest Kavanaugh controversy 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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

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 JayapalPelosi woos progressives on prescription drug pricing plan Democrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril Overnight Health Care: Watchdog details severe trauma suffered by separated children | Judge approves B CVS-Aetna merger | House Dem Caucus chair backs 'Medicare for All' 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 TlaibOmar says she hopes Netanyahu not reelected Bill Maher, Michael Moore spar over Democrats' strategy for 2020 Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight 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.