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  • Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Bernie Sanders fired back at President Trump over his comments against socialism.

    Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Bernie Sanders fired back at President Trump over his comments against socialism. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 February 2019

During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Trump said the United States would never become a socialist country. 

United States President Donald Trump said Tuesday night during his State of the Union address that the U.S. would not be a socialist country -- in an attempt to attack left-leaning congresspeople who scored considerable victories in the midterm elections November.

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"Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country," Trump said after doubling down on his attacks and calls for interventions against the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro. "America was founded on liberty and independence - not government coercion, domination, and control."

But progressive members of Congress, some of them recently elected to the U.S. Congress, did not miss the opportunity to fire back at Trump and his attack. 

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American refugee and a freshman congresswoman is one of the few legislators who have spoken out against intervention in Venezuela. She said after the State of the Union Address that it was difficult to trust anything Trump said.

“It’s hard to trust someone who continuously lies and manipulates the American people. And I know that someone even even if we make attempts to work with he’ll do his own thing. My hope is that if we stay together and continue to work on behalf of the American people, just like last time we will make sure that he is not successful.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic Socialist and freshman congresswoman said that Trump was losing on the issues.

"Every single policy proposal that we have adopted and presented to the American public has been overwhelmingly popular, even some with a majority of Republican voters supporting what we're talking about," she said.

"I think he sees himself losing on the issues, he sees himself losing on the wall in the southern border, and he needs to grasp at an ad hominem attack and this is his way of doing it," Ocasio-Cortez added. "In order for him to try to dissuade or throw people off the scent of the trail, he has to really make and confuse the public. And I think that that's exactly what he's trying to do."

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Bernie Sanders, independent senator, and former presidential candidate slammed Trump's comment against socialism, pointing to how many people suffer in the United States due to the lack of many social programs and policies.

“Trump said tonight, ‘We are born free, and we will stay free.’ Well, I say to President Trump: People are not truly free when they can’t afford to go to the doctor when they are sick. They are not truly free when they cannot afford to buy the prescription drugs they so desperately need. People are not truly free when they are exhausted because they are working longer and longer hours for lower wages," Sanders said in a response to Trump's State of the Union speech. 

“People are not truly free when they cannot afford a decent place in which to live. People certainly are not free when they cannot afford to feed their families.”

When speaking of Venezuela, Trump said the U.S. condemned the “brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.”

However, he did not mention the campaign of economic sanctions that the U.S. has employed for over 10 years against the Venezuelan government and government officials.

“For more than a decade, the United States has employed sanctions as a policy tool in response to activities of the Venezuelan government or Venezuelan individuals," a report in the Congressional Research Service stated. Most recently, on Jan. 28, the Trump Administration announced sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela.

Indian historian, journalist, commentator and a Marxist intellectual, Vijay Prashad, said the address was devoid of substance.

“He was really at the level of cliches, but there wasn’t anything you could sink your teeth into,” Prashad told teleSUR. “Strikingly he felt the need, right after mentioning Venezuela, he felt the need to attack socialism. And what struck me was how the U.S. Congress responded with an almost rapid nationalism, chanting ‘USA, USA.’”

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