WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said at a large annual conservative gathering on Saturday that the opposition Democratic Party was trying to implement socialism, but vowed that that economic model would never be adopted in the United States.
In his remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside this capital, Trump also slammed a longstanding probe into allegations that his presidential campaign colluded with Russia.
“Socialism is not about the environment. It’s not about justice. It’s not about virtue. Socialism is about only one thing – it’s called power for the ruling class,” Trump said
“The future does not belong to those who believe in socialism,” he said in remarks similar to those he uttered during his State of the Union address last month. “The future belongs to those who believe in freedom. I have said it before, and I will say it again: America will never be a socialist country.”
Also on Saturday, independent US Sen. Bernie Sanders got his campaign up and running in New York for the Democratic Party primaries before thousands of followers and vowed to defeat President Donald Trump, whom he described as very dangerous for the nation.
With cries of “Bernie, Bernie,” several thousand people gathered on the Brooklyn College campus where Sanders began his higher education.
“Thank you for being part of a campaign which is not only going to win the Democratic nomination,” but which will “defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history,” Sanders told those attending the rally in Brooklyn to kick off his candidacy despite the freezing temperatures.
“Today, I want to welcome you to a campaign which says, loudly and clearly, that the underlying principles of our government will not be greed, hatred and lies. It will not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and religious bigotry. That is going to end,” Sanders said in announcing his candidacy.
“The principles of our government will be based on justice: economic justice, social justice, racial justice and environmental justice,” he added.
Trump’s reaction to Bernie’s candidacy began last Feb. 20, when he called the Democrat “crazy Bernie.”
“Crazy Bernie has just entered the race. I wish him well!” Trump said in a tone of mockery on Twitter.
During his speech on Saturday, Trump also took aim at an extremely ambitious environmental proposal by a freshman Democratic congresswoman from New York, 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-styled “democratic socialist.”
Known as the Green New Deal, the non-binding resolution’s aim is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in a period of just 10 years.
To accomplish that goal, the resolution proposes “overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible.”
It also calls for “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency” and providing economic guarantees to workers in fossil-fuel industries to ease their transition to jobs in the renewable-energy sector.
Though not in the resolution, one FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document produced by Ocasio-Cortez’s office suggested that the Green New Deal would seek to phase out air travel by building high-speed rail on a massive scale.
Trump continued with that theme on Saturday.
“No planes, no energy, when the wind stops blowing, that’s the end of your electric ... It would force the destruction or renovation of virtually every structure in the United States,” he said. “Perhaps nothing is more extreme than the Democrat plan to take over American energy.”
In his speech at CPAC, Trump also criticized his former attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
In March 2017, shortly after taking office, Sessions recused himself from any Justice Department probes into alleged Russian machinations to help Trump win the 2016 election and possible coordination between the campaign and Moscow.
The claim of Russian meddling arose following the publication by WikiLeaks of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and from the chair of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign, John Podesta.
The DNC communications showed that that supposedly neutral body was anxious to ensure that Clinton defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries.
The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened via cyberattacks to help Trump win the election, though WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has gone on record more than once to say that Russia was not the source of the material he published.
Sessions’ recusal was soon followed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of a special counsel – former FBI director Robert Mueller – to spearhead the Russia investigation.
Mueller’s wide-ranging probe has ensnared numerous individuals in Trump’s inner circle, but no charges of conspiring with a foreign government to influence the 2016 election have yet been filed.
“I’m going to recuse mahself,” Trump said at CPAC to mock the Southern accent of his former attorney general, who resigned at the president’s request in November of last year.
The president has consistently slammed the Russia investigation as a witch hunt, while on Saturday he referred to the probe as “the collusion delusion.”