While Republicans and many Democrats rose and enthusiastically applauded President Donald Trump's attack on socialism during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)—who, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), remained seated—said the president's remarks showed he's "scared" of the progressive policies that most Americans are embracing.
"He sees that everything is closing in on him. And he knows he's losing the battle of public opinion when it comes to the actual substantive proposals that we're advancing."
—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Speaking to reporters after Trump proclaimed that "America will never be a socialist country," Ocasio-Cortez said the president felt the need to lash out at socialism because bold progressives have gotten "under his skin."
"I think he's scared," said Ocasio-Cortez, a self-identified democratic socialist. "He sees that everything is closing in on him. And he knows he's losing the battle of public opinion when it comes to the actual substantive proposals that we're advancing."
While right-wing pundit Peggy Noonan criticized Ocasio-Cortez for remaining stoic during most of Trump's address, the congresswoman later explained Trump gave her no reason to feel "spirited and warm":
Why should I be “spirited and warm” for this embarrassment of a #SOTU?
Tonight was an unsettling night for our country. The president failed to offer any plan, any vision at all, for our future.
We’re flying without a pilot. And I‘m not here to comfort anyone about that fact. https://t.co/7bu3QXFMnC
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 6, 2019
In an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews late Tuesday following Trump's address, Ocasio-Cortez argued Trump's swipe at socialism demonstrates that he's "losing on the issues."
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"Every single policy proposal that we have adopted and presented to the American public has been overwhelmingly popular, even some with the majority of Republican voters," said the New York congresswoman. "When we talk about a 70 percent marginal tax rate on incomes over $10 million, 60 percent of Americans approve it."
"Seventy percent of Americans believe in improved and expanded Medicare for All. A very large amount of Americans believe that we need to do something about climate change, and that it is an existential threat to ourselves and to our children," she continued. "What we really need to realize...is that this is an issue of [an] authoritarian regime versus democracy."
"He feels like he feels himself losing on the issues. Every single policy proposal that we've adopted and presented to the American public has been overwhelmingly popular." @AOC pic.twitter.com/b8zdRuJZ6A
— Hardball (@hardball) February 6, 2019
America's socialists joined Republicans and Democrats in applauding Trump's anti-socialism "screed"—but for entirely different reasons.
"I love it when the president helps me make the case that it's socialism or barbarism," wrote Sarah Jones of New York Magazine.
Branches of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)—whose membership has soared to record levels since Trump's election—said they expect a nice membership bump after the president's address.
"We look forward to seeing the new members who come to our next meeting after the presidential insistence we will never live in a socialist country," declared DSA's Eugene, Oregon branch.