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CNN  — 

Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s latest attempt to deflect attention from her seven-figure stock sell-off just a month before the stock market collapsed because of impacts from the coronavirus may be her most creative yet. In short: It’s socialism – or something.

Here’s what the Georgia Republican senator said on Fox News Friday:

“This was a political attack designed to take away from the issue at hand. And to use this outbreak to play politics. We have addressed this and taken extraordinary measures to make sure that we can’t be attacked for our success. This gets at the very heart of why I came to Washington, to defend free enterprise, to defend capitalism. This is a socialist attack. We have taken extraordinary measures, and I am focused solely on working for Georgians. I have been doing that seven days a week, around the clock. And it’s my honor to be here and serve, and that’s why I stepped out of the private sector.”

OK, so let’s go through some facts here.

Loeffler and her husband, who is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold 27 stocks between January 24 and February 14 at a value of between $1.28 million and $3.1 million, according to Senate financial disclosure records. They also bought three stocks in that time for between $450,000 and $1 million – including Citrix, a software company that does teleconference, which has boomed amid stay at-home orders. When Loeffler and her husband bought Citrix it was trading at $122 a share; today it is at $149 – and being predicted to continue to soar.

Loeffler was one of a handful of senators – including North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein – who made stock market moves in run-up to the collapse of the Dow Jones Industrial Average following a series of social distancing measured led to the effective shutdown of the American economy. Loeffler is also one of the wealthiest senators in the body.

In early April, Loeffler was still defending the trades. “I can’t say anything that I would have done differently,” she told the Washington Post. “I’ve learned that everything is going to be used as a political opportunity. That’s been reinforced.” Two days later, Loeffler announced – in a Wall Street Journal pieceto sell of all individual stocks she and her husband owned. “Although Senate ethics rules don’t require it, my husband and I are liquidating our holdings in managed accounts and moving into exchange-traded funds and mutual funds,” wrote Loeffler.

The stock controversy has caused Loeffler, the newest senator in the chamber, considerable political problems.

She was already facing a serious primary challenge in the form of Rep. Doug Collins, who President Donald Trump previously urged Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to appoint to the Senate opening. And Collins quickly leapt on the stock sales to bash Loeffler, tweeting: “People are losing their jobs, their businesses, their retirements, and even their lives and Kelly Loeffler is profiting off their pain? I’m sickened just thinking about it.”

Meanwhile, state and national Democrats appear to have coalesced behind the Rev. Raphael Warnock as their preferred nominee against the eventual GOP nominee.

As Cook Political Report Senate editor Jessica Taylor wrote on Wednesday about Loeffler:

“The campaign ads from this write themselves — an extremely wealthy senator was more worried about her bottom line as millions of Americans are losing their jobs and seeing their retirement accounts and investments nosedive…

“…Even before the stock trades surfaced, early polling in the race showed support for Loeffler was soft. And the stories about her stock trades couldn’t come at a worse time too, right when she needed to be boosting her relatively unknown image with voters. First impressions matter, and this isn’t a good one for a political newcomer.”

It’s not surprising then that, with her back up against the wall, Loeffler has taken to shouting socialism. Her logic here is sort of hard to follow, but I think, goes like this: As a citizen she can own stocks and make trades – and make (or lose) money from those trades. That’s how capitalism works. And if you are opposed to her right to do that, well then, socialism.

(Put aside the fact that Loeffler, despite defending her capitalist rights to buy and sell stocks on Friday, has already divested of all said stocks, according to her April 8 WSJ piece.)

Screaming “socialism” is a page ripped directly from President Trump’s playbook. Here’s Trump in his 2019 State of the Union Address:

“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” the President said. “America was founded on liberty and independence - not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free.”

“Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”

That revulsion toward socialism – which runs particularly strong in the base of the GOP – is what Loeffler is hoping to tap into. It’s a remarkable change of subject – this isn’t about my stock sales, it’s about socialism! – that speaks to how desperate Loeffler is to find an argument that might work for her amid this self-created political crisis.