Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) declared that she would never apologize for comparing detention facilities at the U.S. border with “concentration camps” in Nazi-occupied Europe. Ocasio-Cortez made the comparison on a live Instagram video stream on Monday night: “That is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps,” she said, adding that the phrase “never again” — popularly associated with the memory of the Holocaust — “means something.”
Ocasio-Cortez drew criticism all day Tuesday. But she kept doubling down and digging in, first insisting the detention camps met the definition of “concentration camps”; then trying to draw a distinction between “concentration camps” and “death camps”; then arguing that the U.S. had also used “concentration camps” when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (a Democrat) interned Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. She also spent hours retweeting supportive messages from those on the left who attempted to defend her use of the “concentration camp” analogy. And she resumed her fight Wednesday morning, arguing that the U.S. had “run concentration camps before.”
By then, even CNN had enough. John Avlon — no friend of President Donald Trump — said that Ocasio-Cortez had gone “across the line,” adding: “It’s not that hard to apologize. she should do it. It’s unacceptable.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA) likewise said that she should apologize.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, apparently in response, that she would never apologize:
Ocasio-Cortez also thanked House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) for arguing that the phrase “never again” could be interpreted more broadly. (Nadler told Breitbart News in 2016 that Democrats who used antisemitism to attack Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) should be fired.)
On Wednesday morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refused to condemn Ocasio-Cortez’s statement. It was the second time in recent weeks that she has had to defend a member of her caucus accused of antisemitism: she also protected Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after repeated antisemitic remarks.