Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Thursday defended President Donald Trump’s remarks on the so-called “squad” of progressive freshman lawmakers.
In fact, McConnell said he doesn’t think the president went far enough.
Appearing Thursday morning on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria,” McConnell was asked for his reaction to Trump’s commentary during his rally the previous night in North Carolina.
“Let ’em leave. … They’re always telling us how to run it, how to do this, how to do that. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell ’em to leave it,” Trump said, according to Fox News, referring to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Trump’s full speech can be seen below:
The president was doubling on a series of tweets Sunday in which he encouraged the four liberal lawmakers to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”
McConnell said Thursday he agreed with the sentiment of Trump’s remarks.
“Well look, he’s right about ‘the squad’ wanting to turn us into a socialist country,” the Senate majority leader told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo.
But Trump didn’t go far enough in criticizing progressive Democrats and the ideas they espouse, McConnell suggested.
“What he should have added however is it’s a lot broader than just the four of them,” McConnell added. “You know, the speaker, the Democratic leader of the Senate and a whole lot of others, including the presidential candidates have all signed up for things like the Green New Deal which would take away your job, Medicare for All, which would take away your private health insurance.”
“And in order to make any effort to pay for that,” he said, “they would have to go after the top 10 percent of taxpayers in America because that’s where 70 percent of the revenue for the federal government comes from, so they’d slow the economy down.”
McConnell then predicted that the 2020 election will reflect Americans’ view on socialism.
“So 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,” he said. “Do we really think socialism applies here at a time of great prosperity, 50-year-low unemployment? That’s what the election, I think is going to be about.”
McConnell also directly addressed Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks this week claiming he’s “complicit in advancing racism.”
“Well, look, I think it’s time to lower the rhetoric related to that subject all across America,” McConnell said. “Everyone knows that’s nonsense. You may not know this, your viewers may not know this, but I was there when Martin Luther King gave that ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.”
“I’ve got nothing to apologize on this front. We ought to tone the rhetoric down across the country using — throwing around words like racism, you know, kind of routinely applying it to almost everything.”
Instead of throwing around accusations of racism, McConnell said politicians should focus on policy.
“And the issues are as we’ve — as we talked about in the first discussion here, where they want to take America,” he said. “They want to take America into a socialist country.”
“And I think it’s important to remember you don’t have to have a military coup to have a socialist country, most countries have voted it in.”
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