Rep. Steve King (R-IA); Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (Getty/Saon)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez eviscerates Steve King: "You were too racist even for" Republicans

Ocasio-Cortez sparked controversy when she said migrant detention centers were "exactly" like concentration camps


Shira Tarlo
June 24, 2019 4:04PM (UTC)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., lashed out at Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, after he suggested she should accept an open invitation from a Holocaust remembrance group to tour the Nazi death camp Auschwitz and other concentration camps during her summer recess from Congress.

"@AOC I went to Auschwitz & Birkenau with Eddie Mausberg & Jonny Daniels with In the Depths," King tweeted Saturday. "I went with a deep understanding of the Shoah and had a profound personal experience. Please accept their offer."

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The freshman congresswoman, known for firing back at critics, clapped back at King.

"The last time you went on this trip it was reported that you also met w/ Austrian neo-Nazi groups to talk shop," she wrote Sunday on Twitter. "I'm going to have to decline your invite. But thank you for revealing to all how transparently the far-right manipulates these moments for political gain."

Ocasio-Cortez also took jabs at the Iowa Republican over his defense of the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" during an interview with the New York Times.

"Mr. King, the Republican party literally stripped you of your Congressional committee assignments because you were too racist even for them," she wrote on Twitter. "My Jewish constituents have made clear to me that they proudly stand w/ caged children who are starved, denied sleep & sanitation."

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The feud comes after Ocasio-Corteza sparked a political firestorm last week for declaring in an emotional Instagram Live broadcast that detention centers housing undocumented migrants who have crossed into the U.S. are "exactly" like concentration camps.

"The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border ⁠— and that is exactly what they are," she said in the video last week.

Ocasio-Cortez noted that migrant children were taken last week to the same concentration camps where people of Japanese ancestry were held during World War II. Camps were established at the time in states with large Japanese-American populations, such as California, Washington and Oregon.

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Her comments sparked an online debate and drew swift condemnation from Republicans, including King, who argued the comparison to the Holocaust was not appropriate.

"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," Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the third-ranking House Republican, tweeted last week.

Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Cheney on Sunday, as well.

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"Hey @Liz_Cheney, you're the GOP Conference Chair - perhaps you should come collect your colleague before more members of your caucus start saying the quiet parts loud," she tweeted, referring to King.

The freshman congresswoman has defended her remarks, which have been praised by some Democrats and even the actor and activist George Takei, who was interned by the U.S. government alongside fellow Japanese Americans during World War II.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said American Jews are "disgusted by the cruel treatment of children and families at our southern border." The lawmaker, who is Jewish, tweeted last week: "If you want to show solidarity with American Jews, help us to stop this, and don't feign outrage at the language that people use to describe this tragedy."

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Earlier this month, the federal government announced plans to place as many as 1,400 migrant children in makeshift housing on Fort Sill Army installation in Oklahoma, which was used during WWII as an internment camp for Japanese-Americans. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) said in a statement that Fort Sill was previously used to house unaccompanied migrant children in 2014.

In addition to Fort Sill, the agency said in its statement that it is also considering housing unaccompanied migrant children at the Santa Teresa Land Port of Entry in New Mexico, because existing shelters are at capacity.


Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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