Jerry Nadler Defends AOC Amid Backlash over ‘Concentration Camp’ Claims

House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., makes a statement during the House Judiciary Antitrust subcommittee hearing on 'Online Platforms and Market Power', on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), one of the most prominent Jewish lawmakers on Capitol Hill, defended freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Wednesday as the self-avowed Democratic-socialist faces intense backlash for comparing migrant holding facilities to “concentration camps.”

Ocasio-Cortez set off a political firestorm this week after referring to President Donald Trump as a “fascist” whose administration is running “concentration camps” on the U.S.-Mexico Southern border. “That is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps,” the New York Democrat argued while live-streaming on Instagram Monday. “The fact that concentrations camps are now an institutionalized practice in the Home of the Free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it.”
In a tweet, Nadler lauded Ocasio-Cortez for drawing on “lessons” from the Holocaust to illustrate present-day “assaults on our common morality.”

“One of the lessons from the Holocaust is ‘Never Again’ – not only to mass murder, but also to the dehumanization of people, violations of basic rights, and assaults on our common morality. We fail to learn that lesson when we don’t callout such inhumanity right in front of us,” he wrote.

Nadler’s defense of Ocasio-Cortez came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said while she was “not up to date” on the New York Democrat’s latest controversial comments, she scoffed Republican lawmakers “will misrepresent anything that you say.”

“I do have some comments to make to my caucus writ large about the political nature of how politically charged the atmosphere is, so understand that while the Republicans have no interest in holding the president accountable for his words they will misrepresent anything that you say just if you have one word in the sentence that they can exploit,” Pelosi told the Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

Despite receiving back-up from Pelosi and Nalder, multiple Republicans and even some Democrats have criticized Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks. Longshot 2020 White House hopeful and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Wednesday said of the freshman lawmaker’s remarks: “You cannot compare what the Nazis did in concentration camps … It’s a horrible moment in history. There’s no way to compare.”

“They are entirely different realities,” he added.

Still, Ocasio-Cortez remains defiant, vowing to “never apologize” for comparing the conditions of U.S. migrant holding centers to concentration camps during the Holocaust in which approximately 6 million Jews were killed. Ocasio-Cortez defenders claim the far-left lawmakers was not explicitly referencing the Nazi camps even though she evoked the “Never Again” phrase, which is synonymous with Holocaust remembrance.

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