Republicans Claim Outrage Over Ocasio-Cortez’s “Concentration Camps” Remarks

It’s becoming a familiar strategy for GOP politicians.

Tom Williams/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Republicans are claiming outrage after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) compared immigration detention centers along the southern border to concentration camps—remarks she first made during an Instagram Live session late Monday and has since defended.

“That is exactly what they are: They are concentration camps,” Ocasio-Cortez told her followers on Monday. “I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.”

“I don’t use those words lightly,” she continued. “I don’t use those words to just throw bombs. I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is. A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist, and it’s very difficult to say that because it is very difficult to accept the fact that that’s how bad things happen.”

As her comments emerged in the media, Republicans accused Ocasio-Cortez of debasing Holocaust victims and survivors. “You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a tweet Tuesday morning. 

Ocasio-Cortez quickly responded by asking Cheney how she would describe the use of “mass camps of people detained without a trial.” Cheney, in turn, recommended that Ocasio-Cortez read testimonies from Holocaust survivors, as well as Elie Wiesel’s seminal memoir, Night. “Here’s an Amazon link to make it easy for you to purchase,” the Wyoming congresswoman added.

Cheney’s response notably did not include an answer to Ocasio-Cortez’s initial question.

The back-and-forth on Tuesday echoed a similar fury professed by Republicans back in November, when Ocasio-Cortez cited past global refugee crises, including the Holocaust, to defend today’s migrants seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border. “I recommend she take a tour of the Holocaust Museum in DC,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. “Might help her better understand the differences between the Holocaust and the caravan in Tijuana.”

As Graham and others implied that she was ignorant on the subject, a strategy conservatives have frequently used to undermine the freshman congresswoman, the official Twitter account for the Auschwitz Memorial appeared to tweet a veiled line of support for Ocasio-Cortez.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate