President Donald Trump argued socialism has no place in America during his State of the Union address because it was "founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion."
Trump blasted the socialist economy of Venezuela in his speech Tuesday, tying it to a growing movement of democratic socialism in the Democratic Party. He started by celebrating the ascension of Juan Guaido to the presidency, as the U.S. and others have recognized but strongman Nicolas Maduro has disputed.
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"We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom and we condemn 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," Trump said.
"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," Trump said, to wide applause from Republicans and some Democrats. "Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country."
Clapping, cheers, and chants of "USA" followed Trump's declaration of resolve.
Venezuela’s economy has been driven into the ground by Maduro's socialist regime, with hyperinflation causing starvation and medicine shortages. The democratic socialist movement in America has fought to distance its ideas from Venezuela and Maduro, although some of the radical elements of the Democratic Party have defended Maduro’s claim to lead the country.