Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Schumer, McConnell headed for another collision over voting rights MORE (R-Ky.) said Thursday that President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE is "on to something" with his attacks against four Democratic congresswomen of color, trying to paint the rhetoric as part of a larger political debate ahead of 2020.
"He's right about the squad wanting to turn us into a socialist country. … I think the president's on to something. We're having a big debate now and next year about what we want America to be like," McConnell said during an interview with Fox Business.
McConnell's comments come after Trump railed against four Democrats — Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarDemocrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Bleak midterm outlook shadows bitter Democratic battle Ilhan Omar to Biden: 'Deliver on your promise to cancel student debt' MORE (Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez goes indoor skydiving for her birthday Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention More than 200 women, transgender inmates to be transferred from Rikers Island MORE (N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — FDA panel advises Moderna booster shot for high-risk people Ilhan Omar to Biden: 'Deliver on your promise to cancel student debt' Biden's Red Queen justice: How he destroyed both the investigation and the reputation of border agents MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibIlhan Omar to Biden: 'Deliver on your promise to cancel student debt' Who's the boss? Pelosi's legacy sealed after kowtowing to 'the Squad' Democratic civil war hits new heights MORE (Mich.) — during a campaign really in North Carolina, saying they "see our nation as a force of evil."
When Trump was in the middle of a diatribe against Omar the crowd broke into chants of “send her back.”
McConnell on Thursday argued that Trump should have extended his attacks to the broader Democratic caucus, saying "what he should have added is that it's a lot broader than just the four of them."
McConnell is angling to turn the 2020 elections into a debate over "socialism" as Republicans defend roughly two dozen seats next year, most of them in red states.
"Do we really think that socialism applies here? … That's what the election, I think, is going to be about," McConnell added on Thursday.
Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday accused McConnell of being "complicit in advancing racism." Asked about her comment during the Fox Business interview, McConnell laughed.
"I think it's time to lower the rhetoric related to that subject all across America. Everyone knows that's nonsense," McConnell said.
He added that he attended Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and "was there" as an "observer" when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.
"Look I've got nothing to apologize [for] on this front," McConnell said. "We ought to tone the rhetoric down across the country."