Veteran journalist Sam Donaldson took exception to President Donald Trump’s attack on socialism during his second State of the Union address.
As Democratic socialism has grown more popular among the political left, Trump took aim at the ideology on Tuesday night after addressing the turmoil in Venezuela.
“Here in the United States, we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free and we will stay free. Tonight, we will renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” Trump declared.
On Wednesday, Donaldson directly refuted the president, arguing on CNN that the U.S. is “already a socialist country.”
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“It’s too late. Over half of Americans are on socialist programs of the federal government. I’m on Medicare, I’m an old guy, and Medicaid, welfare programs not just for the poor, for the rich,” Donaldson told CNN anchor Don Lemon. “’Hey, how about a sugar subsidy to the ranchers and farmers, let’s buy you some wheat since you can’t sell it on the market at the moment,’ we’re already on the way. And Don, in a few years, we’re going to have a single-payer system, I think. The public is pushing towards it. Unless you say, ‘But that’s socialism! I don’t want that, but I do want good medical care and I want the government to pay for it. We’re a socialist country already.”
The former ABC News anchor disputed the notion that socialism means “big government telling you how to live, what to do [and] when to do it.”
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“That’s not the socialist country as I understand it in Norway, Sweden. I mean, much of the established western world has socialism to a greater extent than we have and their people get along,” the 84-year-old journalist continued. “I think it is in this country, the fact that we came from this ridged in the Southwest, ‘We’ve got the right to do it ourselves and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. And nevermind those people over there who don’t seem to have any boots.’ That’s dying. We are getting to be a better country.”
“You know, it is, after all, it’s called social programs. That’s what it is,” Lemon said in agreement.