Ocasio-Cortez says U.S. is headed to 'fascism' under Trump

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez to hold campaign rallies in Los Angeles, Las Vegas Overwhelming majority say social media companies have too much influence: poll MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a new interview that she believes the United States is heading in a fascist direction under President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE.

“Are we headed to fascism? Yes. I don’t think there’s a question,” Ocasio-Cortez told Yahoo News earlier this week after she visited migrant detention facilities managed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

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“If you actually take the time to study, and to look at the steps, and to see how government transforms under authoritarian regimes, and look at the political decisions and patterns of this president, the answer is yes.”

Ocasio-Cortez made the comments the same day she traveled with a group of lawmakers to assess the conditions at facilities holding migrants near the southern border. The freshman lawmaker, who has repeatedly criticized Trump's administration, called the conditions "horrifying."

She also described a tense atmosphere during the lawmakers' visit, telling Yahoo News that “s--- hit the fan” during one site visit due to what she called the "disrespectful" conduct of CBP staff. Ocasio-Cortez said at one point a CBP officer tried to take a selfie with her, even though lawmakers were not permitted to bring cellphones in the facilities. 

She told Yahoo News that the episode served as an example of how CBP has systematically "lost control" of its operation.  

Ocasio-Cortez also tweeted earlier this week that CBP officers were telling women to drink water out of toilets.

"I see why CBP officers were being so physically &sexually threatening towards me," she said. "Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets. This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress."  

Ocasio-Cortez has vociferously criticized Trump and his administration ever since being sworn into Congress. She has repeatedly called out Trump in the past month over his immigration policies, and has compared migrant detention facilities near the southern border to concentration camps. 

The comparison prompted backlash from multiple GOP lawmakers, who called her remarks disrespectful to the Holocaust and the millions of Jews killed during it. Ocasio-Cortez has stood by her comments, saying she would "never apologize for calling these camps what they are."

The New York congresswoman reiterated her stance to Yahoo News, arguing that Trump's tendencies compared to that time period. She also held the president directly responsible for the poor conditions at the migrant detention facilities, saying his policies have led to numerous Central Americans fleeing their native countries. 

“We withdrew U.S. aid to those areas that was intended to stabilize those areas," Ocasio-Cortez said. “It deepened and exacerbated all of the crises that are already happening, causing a flood of people to try to escape these horrifying conditions. So we are contributing to the surge in the first place. We’re engineering it, so that’s coming to our border.”

Trump in March halted aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, saying they weren't doing enough to stop the flow of immigrants. 

She added that if Trump “really cared about human lives," he would declare a national emergency to gain access to funds to improve the facilities' conditions.