Chuck Todd: Ocasio-Cortez’s concentration camp remarks do border detainees ‘tremendous disservice’

Greg Nash

NBC “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd on Wednesday condemned Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) comments comparing the Trump administration’s detention centers near the southern border to concentration camps, saying the remarks were a “tremendous disservice” to the detainees. 

“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 said on MSNBC’s “Meet The Press Daily,” before transitioning to a clip of the freshman lawmaker stating that Trump was “running concentration camps on our southern border.”

Todd noted that Ocasio-Cortez “tried to make a distinction between concentration camps and Nazi death camps” following criticism. 

{mosads}”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.”

Todd went on to denounce Democratic lawmakers for not forcefully condemning Ocasio-Cortez’s position, suggesting that their lack of pushback was because they “don’t want to get criticized on Twitter.” 

“Why are we so sheepish calling out people we agree with politically these days?” Todd asked, before acknowledging that Ocasio-Cortez “cares deeply about what’s happening at the border.”

“But she just did the people there a tremendous disservice by distracting from their plight,” he concluded. “She said she didn’t use those words lightly. Well, neither did I.” 

Ocasio-Cortez sparked fierce criticism from the right earlier this week after equating migrant detention facilities to concentration camps. The freshman lawmaker first voiced the comparison while speaking about Trump’s housing of immigrants near the souther border on Instagram Live.

“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,” she said, adding that she wasn’t using the phrase “never again” to “just throw bombs.”

Nazi Germany erected concentration camps in the 1930s to hold Jewish people and other political prisoners under harsh conditions, ultimately killing millions.

Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration has led to the expansion of migrant detention centers along the southern border and has drawn scrutiny for overcrowded facilities.

Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly stood by her remarks, tweeting that she would “never apologize for calling these camps what they are.” She also addressed Todd’s comments late Wednesday, calling his argument “unfortunate.”

“Well, @chucktodd — the fact that you slipped in ‘Nazi’ when I never said that is pretty unfortunate,” the congresswoman said on Twitter. “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.”

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