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

Progressive Democrats accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' 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-CortezChuck Todd: Ocasio-Cortez's concentration camp remarks do border detainees 'tremendous disservice' Chuck Todd: Ocasio-Cortez's concentration camp remarks do border detainees 'tremendous disservice' GOP hopes dim on reclaiming House 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 JayapalShutting down plastics at the source Democrats to pass spending bill with Hyde despite 2020 uproar Democrats to pass spending bill with Hyde despite 2020 uproar 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 TlaibGOP hopes dim on reclaiming House GOP hopes dim on reclaiming House Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record 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.