NBC News host Chuck Todd said that New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s comment comparing border detention facilities to “concentration camps” did a “tremendous disservice” to the detainees at those facilities.
"You can call our government’s detention of migrants many things, depending on how you see it. It’s a stain on our nation maybe, a necessary evil to others, a deal with untenable situation perhaps. But do you know what you can’t call it?" Todd asked, before playing a clip of Ocasio-Cortez saying President Trump is "running concentration camps on our southern border."
Todd noted that the freshman congresswoman "tried to make a distinction between concentration camps and Nazi death camps."
"Fair enough," Todd said. "But congresswoman, tens of thousands were also brutalized, starved and ultimately died in concentration camps. If you want to criticize the shameful treatment of people at our border, fine, you’ll have plenty of company. But be careful comparing them to Nazi concentration camps, because they’re not at all comparable."
AOC not backing down:
Ocasio-Cortez made the comment in an Instagram Live stream Monday.
“The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are,” she said. “If that doesn’t bother you ... I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.”
After drawing criticism from the likes of Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, AOC doubled down.
“What do you call building mass camps of people being detained without a trial?” she asked Cheney.
“Also [Liz Cheney], the fact that you employed the horrifying word ‘exterminated’ here (co-opting the language of the oppressor) tells us that it’s *you* that needs to brush up on your reading,” she wrote. “Hope you enjoy defending concentration camps. I won’t back down fighting against them.”
“The US ran concentration camps before, when we rounded up Japanese people during WWII,” she added. “It is such a shameful history that we largely ignore it. These camps occur throughout history. Many refuse to learn from that shame, but here we are today. We have an obligation to end them.”
AOC hits back at Chuck Todd:
“Well, @chucktodd - the fact that you slipped in ‘Nazi’ when I never said that is pretty unfortunate,” she wrote. “Almost as unfortunate as the fact that you spent this whole time w/o discussing DHS freezers, ‘dog pounds,’ missing children, & human rights abuses that uphold use of this term.”
“Years from now, people will look for the journalists, officials, & everyday people who stood up for what was right in real-time,” she wrote. “We are calling these camps what they are because they fit squarely in an academic consensus and definition. History will be kind to those who stood up to this injustice. So say what you will. Kids are dying and I’m not here to make people feel comfortable about that.”