Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley gave an interesting definition of the word “socialism” on Wednesday following President Donald Trump’s attack on the far-left ideology during his State of the Union address.
In an interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront,” Merkley defined socialism as “a society coming together to increase the standard of living of our seniors,” according to a segment flagged by The Free Beacon.
“Do you agree, Senator Merkley, at the bottom line, America should never be a socialist country?”
Merkley danced around the question, attacking Trump’s speech and bringing up former House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Burnett again pressed Merkley on how he defined socialism.
“Well, it is a society coming together to increase the standard of living of our seniors,” Merkley said. “And that is pretty much the definition and the president’s attacking it.”
BURNETT: The president last night also called out some of the more liberal members of your party and this will be very important Senator, given what we’ve seen so far in this pre-pre-primary season. Let me replay what he said.
TRUMP: 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. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.
BURNETT: Do you agree, Senator Merkley, at the bottom line: America should never be a socialist country?
MERKLEY: You know, the president started out by saying it was going to be bipartisan, wanted to bring people together. But he just couldn’t restrain himself from going into campaign mode. And certainly, we heard Paul Ryan when he was speaker say, ‘hey, now that we’ve won this big tax give away to the richest Americans, we have to dismantle these social programs. We have to dismantle Medicare or tone it down. We have to diminish Social Security.’ What they refer to as entitlements. I call them programs earned and very smart programs for our seniors and I support those and the president wants to tear those apart. I think he is making a big mistakes take for quality of life in America.
BURNETT: But you don’t, but you don’t see that as socialism, right? In terms of the word, obviously, it’s a word of significance.
MERKLEY:Well, it is a society coming together to increase the standard of living of our seniors. And that is pretty much the definition and the president’s attacking it.