NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s more outrage over controversial comments by Rep. Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez after she mentioned “concentration camps” and the words “never again” while referring to the border crisis.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has also weighed in.
“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are they are. They are concentration camps,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a video she posted on Instagram. “I want to talk to people who are concerned enough that never again means something.”
The post by Ocasio-Cortez likening the Mexican border crisis to concentration camps triggered an avalanche of criticism on both sides of the political aisle.
“They are entirely different realities,” de Blasio said.
The mayor, an Ocasio-Cortez ally, blasted the comments.
“I respect her greatly and I feel very close to her in terms of philosophy, but of course she was wrong. You cannot compare what the Nazis did in concentration camps. Unfortunately… it’s a horrible moment in history. There’s no way to compare,” he said.
On Thursday afternoon, reporters asked Ocasio-Cortez about border security and she did not back down on her choice of words.
“We’ve had 24 people die in these concentration camps that Trump has established on our border,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And what they want to do is politicize it, warp it, turn it into a controversy about words instead of turning it into a controversy of why kids are dying on a border with U.S. dollars.”
“She does not understand history. She does not understand what’s going on at the border,” said House minority leader Kevin McCarthy. He called her comments embarrassing.
“And to take something that happened in history where millions of Jews have died and equate it to somewhere that’s happening on the border? She owes this nation an apology,” he added.
In the meantime, political experts say this criticism of the Trump administration’s border policy backfired.
“Donald Trump is not running against the Democratic nominee for president. He’s running against AOC, and every time she makes an outrageous comment, guess what, she helps Donald Trump get reelected,” said political expert Hank Sheinkopf.
Congressman Jerry Nadler did offer some support to Ocasio-Cortez, saying on Twitter in part that we fail to learn the lessons of the Holocaust when we don’t call out inhumanity in front of us.