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

Progressive Democrats accused President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout 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-CortezProgressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J vax rollout today; third woman accuses Cuomo 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 won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks Democrats snipe on policy, GOP brawls over Trump House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade 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 TlaibSinema pushes back on criticism of her vote against minimum wage, implying that it's sexist Progressives push White House to overturn wage ruling Six ways to visualize a divided America 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.