Freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sparked GOP backlash after stating that migrant detention centers were "exactly" like concentration camps.
On Monday night in an Instagram live feed, the 29-year-old Democratic congresswoman called out the detention centers housing immigrants for what they really are.
"The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are."
Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney, the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, bristled at AOC's controversial statement and accused her of using the Holocaust for political leverage.
The Republican lawmaker tweeted on Tuesday:
"Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this."
Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterm… https://t.co/TOd3OsXkmq— Liz Cheney (@Liz Cheney)1560867925.0
Ocasio-Cortez reminded Cheney that she needs to brush up on history and vowed to continue fighting against detention housing centers.
Also @Liz_Cheney, the fact that you employed the horrifying word “exterminated” here (co-opting the language of the… https://t.co/w5y7nP1Dty— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1560897407.0
AOC later blasted Cheney outside Capitol Hill, accusing her of "co-opting the language" by using the term "extermination."
"She used the term 'extermination' which is co-opting the language, eh, of that. You know, that term implies that the people who died in the Holocaust, it, it doubles down on the rhetoric that justified it. So, I think it's, uh, I mean I think she's the one that needs to do her homework."
Charlotte Clymer–an Army veteran and writer who identifies as a transgender woman–began a Twitter thread siding with AOC while denouncing Cheney for her ignorance on facts pertaining to a reprehensible moment in history.
What follows is a substantiated list of eye-opening facts from someone who was a former employee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum–the official memorial to the Holocaust that was dedicated on April 22, 1993, and is adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The qualifying expert points out an unsettling pattern indicating that history is on the brink of repeating itself.
Hi @Liz_Cheney, I worked at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where I gave tours to tens of thousands of folks, i… https://t.co/koUrvOFnjO— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894826.0
Clymer saved Cheney the trouble of doing her "homework" and publicly schooled the Republican congresswoman on the detailed facts and statistics from the Holocaust.
First, 6 million Jewish people were slaughtered out of anti-Semitic hatred, but 17 million people total were system… https://t.co/TSknAp0ztu— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894827.0
For several years, there was a popular exhibit at @HolocaustMuseum called “Some Were Neighbors”. It meant to highli… https://t.co/JOIbBasgpf— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894827.0
The genius of the “Some Were Neighbors” exhibit is that it didn’t hold back. It talks about how doctors, lawyers, t… https://t.co/OU3gGVmNBQ— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894827.0
Throughout the exhibit were examples of real people who may have not worn Nazi armbands but turned-in Jewish folks,… https://t.co/coZt0lOCck— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894828.0
There was no subtlety about the exhibit. The message was clear: these people are just like you, just like your frie… https://t.co/5R75mzMr5o— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894828.0
And they were led to do this by vicious propaganda that downplayed the atrocities taking place. The German civilian… https://t.co/zW0tM4G4Ar— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894828.0
The lack of transparency at the time about these camps is devastating, and instead of accountability on human right… https://t.co/mhr0eFQyTi— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894828.0
Clymer reminded Cheney that Americans turned their backs on those fleeing from persecution before.
We knew Jews were being persecuted. “What is happening in Germany today may happen tomorrow in any other land on… https://t.co/KcAZ52hze8— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894829.0
In fact, as @HolocaustMuseum points out, American diplomats knew Jews and others were being targeted. We did nothin… https://t.co/5IaEi8u6Wq— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894830.0
This goes on for years. Stories of Jews and others being brutalized, rounded up, and put in "work camps", never to… https://t.co/dQRdx6Qqz8— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894830.0
Two full years before Pearl Harbor, American Nazis held a mass rally at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Over 20,000 p… https://t.co/jy5CkF7gQV— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894830.0
There were able to do this, in part, because of people who diminished crimes against humanity, who constantly engag… https://t.co/efrSKsHW1d— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894831.0
Three months later, the MS St. Louis, carrying 937 Jews, attempts to land at Cuba. They were refused entry and came… https://t.co/knf8iDXa0J— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894831.0
You need to understand, Congresswoman @Liz_Cheney, that the Holocaust happened over a long period of time, abated b… https://t.co/3QACr1jqxn— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894831.0
Clymer, who is currently the Press Secretary for Rapid Response at the Human Rights campaign, further supported AOC's comment about immigrant detention centers with the detailed thread.
She concluded the lesson asserting that the Democratic congresswoman was accurate.
When Congresswoman @AOC refers to these places near the border as "concentration camps", where protocol is still se… https://t.co/VZA0HvZFoH— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894831.0
But instead of launching into a diatribe against Cheney for undermining AOC's statement, Clymer encouraged the Wyoming Representative to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
I would encourage you to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Congresswoman @Liz_Cheney. You may find its cont… https://t.co/chUHA30zKN— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1560894832.0
Twitter expressed gratitude for Clymer's history lesson and hoped Cheney will take note.
@cmclymer @Liz_Cheney Thank you, @cmclymer, from the bottom of my heart, for spelling out the parallels of 1930s Ge… https://t.co/oOwo1Z2MlB— Dr. Susan Bernstein (@Dr. Susan Bernstein)1560896778.0
@cmclymer @Liz_Cheney Very grateful for you tonight.— Aimee Mann (@Aimee Mann)1560923740.0
@cmclymer @AOC An important thread that informs, enlightens & appropriately points out how ignorance & ugly rhetori… https://t.co/J62taWEp3I— scubarang (@scubarang)1560928058.0
Even Google and the dictionary agree.
@cmclymer @AOC @Liz_Cheney If calling the Conditions & Treatment of migrants placed in facilities isn't "Concent… https://t.co/Ed9h5bJTOC— Angela Rae Boon 💗You are amazing💗 (@Angela Rae Boon 💗You are amazing💗)1560939632.0
@TruthfulOne1776 @DanVillaman @cmclymer @AOC Read. A. Dictionary. The definition is mass detention of a class of pe… https://t.co/twiTMB1JAJ— Trish Anderton (@Trish Anderton)1560942245.0
In a Fox News interview, Cheney responded to AOC's "homework" comment by calling her a "left-wing zealot" and the "intellectual leader" of congressional Democrats.
She accused AOC of being ignorant and that her comparison to concentrations camps was a "total disregard for the facts."
"We should never be in a situation where somebody is bringing up the Holocaust in this public discourse, particularly diminishing what happened, particularly demeaning the state of Israel, demeaning the memory of the people who were lost."
Art Del Cueto, the vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, also pushed back on AOC's claim.
He told host Bill Hemmer on Fox's "America's Newsroom":
"It's disgusting to compare concentration camps to what the men and women are doing here protecting our country."
AOC doubled down on the backlash by clarifying once and for all that:
"concentration camps are considered by experts as 'the mass detention of civilians without trial.' And that's exactly what this administration is doing."
Concentration camps did not begin or end in Germany or with the Nazis. Adolph Hitler referenced the United States government and Presidents like Andrew Jackson's handling of Native Americans as inspiration for his own version of reservations/concentration camps.
To learn more about the definition of concentration camps and their world history, the book One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps is available here.
"This is a wide-ranging (to put it mildly) look at the history of concentration camps. Pitzer opens with "Butcher" Wyler in Cuba and takes us to present day iterations (Guantanamo Bay). In between, she offers incredibly lucid looks at camps in Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, as expected, but also in China, Chile, Argentina, and The United States." ~ George Cotkin/Amazon