President Donald Trump stood up to a resurgent wave of socialism in America during the State of the Union address on Feb. 5, telling Congress and the nation, “America will never be a socialist country.” The president reviewed his administration’s successes, most of which have been antithetical to socialism. He charted a course toward American greatness and away from the failures of socialism.
Since taking office in 2017, Trump has lambasted socialism and communism on the world stage. On Feb. 5, facing the members of the Democratic Party—many of whom are socialists—the president confronted, for the first time, the ideology’s encroachment on America.
“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” Trump said.
“America was founded on liberty and independence–not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free,” he added, drawing a standing ovation from the Republicans. “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”
As Republicans chanted “USA, USA” in response to the president, Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, fidgeted in his seat, his lips tight and his hand propping up his chin. A small number of Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, stood up and applauded.
Trump prefaced his remarks about socialism by pointing to Venezuela, a once-wealthy nation that has been crippled by socialist policies. Democrats in Congress have floated similar policies for years and have intensified the push beginning in the 2018 midterm election cycle. Prominent members of Congress, including presidential candidate Rep. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), are backing socialist policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal that would open the floodgates to massive government expansion into the health care and energy sectors.
While calls for socialist policies received a significant amount of media attention during and after the 2018 election, the proposals are not new to American politics. “Obamacare” nearly achieved the socialist dream of the total government takeover of the entire health insurance industry, paving the way toward the goals enshrined in Medicare for All. Under the guise of progressivism and other causes benevolently named, socialism–the preliminary stage of communism–has penetrated deeply into U.S. politics, higher education, the sciences, and culture.
“It was great to see him throw down the gauntlet and name the problem because the biggest political problem is the danger of socialism and communism right now,” said Trevor Loudon, an author and contributor to The Epoch Times who has spent 30 years researching radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.
“A quarter of his audience were socialists, so he was throwing down the gauntlet to the left wing of the Democratic Party—which is now the main leading wing—and telling them that their agenda was not acceptable.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus was co-founded by Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist. The caucus swelled by 26 seats after the 2018 election to a roster of 100 members. Many members have links to the Democrat Socialists of America and the Communist Party of USA, according to Loudon’s research.
The bulk of what Trump has achieved during his first two years in office either rolled back socialist policies or prevented the ideology’s further encroachment on America. The president took steps to protect religious freedom, insulating again socialism’s promotion of atheism and attacks on religion. He also spearheaded the passage of a major tax-cut package and ordered an unprecedented purge of government regulations. The moves were a major blow to socialists’ moves to expand the government via new regulations, and to fund that growth by raising taxes.
“[Trump] sees that America has been rushing toward the socialist brink for a long time, perhaps since the middle of the last century and very much accelerated during the Obama presidency, which was scary for anyone who believes as he does and certainly as I do that socialism is not going to go,” William Gairdner, an author and independent scholar, said.
“That was strategic. He wanted to cut the Democrats off at the pass.”
Trump’s choice of Venezuela stood out, considering that examples of socialism’s failures abound. The president has taken a tough stance on Maduro’s regime and intensified pressure on the socialist dictator to step down. In January, Venezuela’s National Assembly declared Maduro’s presidency illegitimate. Juan Guaidó, the assembly’s leader, stepped forward as an interim president. Maduro refused to give up control.
Trump immediately recognized Guaidó, triggering a virtual global referendum on socialism. Free-world nations, like Germany and Australia, sided with Guaidó. Socialist and communist regimes, like those in China, North Korea, and Cuba, backed Maduro. Russia, which is not socialist on paper, has been propping up socialists and communists in South America for decades. The Kremlin backed Maduro.