Texas Democrat: U.S. Doesn’t Have ‘Concentration Camps,’ but Ocasio-Cortez Uses Words Differently

(INSET: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, pauses while speaking with the media in front of the West Wing after a bipartisan meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP, Drew Angerer/Getty

Appearing Wednesday on CNN, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) said that he does not consider America’s border detention facilities “concentration camps” but declined to disagree with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for making the Holocaust comparison, saying she has a “different usage of words” than most people.

The transcript is as follows: 

BROOKE BALDWIN: I want to get you on the record for this. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused the Trump administration of running as what she referred to as “concentration camps” in its detention of migrants at the southern border. I wanted to ask you what you thought of her characterization, her comparison to the Holocaust and especially by ending it and saying “Never Again.”

REP. HENRY CUELLAR: With all due respect to her, she has a different usage of words and maybe a different perception… I’ve been to those detention centers, I’ve been to those shelters, as you know. There are adults that are in detention centers, but the children are put in shelters run by non-profits. I would not use the terms that she used and imply anything after that.

In March, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) offered a similar defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after her controversial remarks targeting Israel, saying, “I don’t think our colleague is antisemitic. I think she has a different experience in the use of words.”

“[She] doesn’t understand that some of them are fraught with meaning that she didn’t realize, but nonetheless that we had to address,” the longtime California Democrat added.

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