GOP Senator Rips Ocasio-Cortez For Calling Detention Centers 'Concentration Camps': 'Voices in Her Head are Not Real'

Republican Senator John Kennedy condemned Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) this week for comparing U.S. migrant detention centers to "concentration camps."

Following a briefing at Barksdale Air Force Base on Tuesday, Kennedy was asked by reporters to comment on the situation at the border. "Let me be frank. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez... someone needs to tell her that the voices in her head are not real," he said, according to KSLA News 12, before refuting the 29-year-old self-described Democratic socialist's description of the conditions within the facilities.

"She says that the men and women of our border patrol and our authorities are intentionally running concentration camps on the southern border," Kennedy continued. "She needs to go to the Holocaust Museum and see what a concentration camp is."

The senator went on to accuse Ocasio-Cortez of helping to create the border issue and failing to adequately assist lawmakers in addressing it.

"The problem we're having at the border, a problem that Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has helped create is that we have 5,000 people a day, not a week, not a month, a day coming into this country. And we don't have a place to put them," the senator explained. "The Department of Homeland Security is out of money and the congresswoman knows that. She says the conditions are inhumane. But yet, when we send a bill over to her to vote to improve those conditions, she voted no."

"Her hypocrisy is breathtaking," he added. "This is the bottom line. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez believes that illegal immigration is a moral good. And she believes that the border is just a nuisance and it should be open; and, I don't think that's what America believes."

Ocasio-Cortez and several other lawmakers traveled to the El Paso Border Patrol Station and the Clinton Border Patrol Station in Texas on Monday to assess conditions at the facilities. Following her trip, the freshman Democrat repeated her claim that the migrants were being held in "concentration camps" in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, which included a link to pictures of overcrowding within the locations. The lawmaker first described the migrant detention centers as "concentration camps" last month in an Instagram Live video.

"These are concentration camps," the lawmaker tweeted. "According to concentration camp experts, people begin to die due to overcrowding, neglect, and shortage of resources. We saw all three of those signs on our trip yesterday. Another person died yesterday. And those are the deaths we know about."

Although Ocasio-Cortez's comments drew significant criticism, it also prompted wide-spread support, including from more than 430 scholars who specialize in researching the Holocaust and other genocides that have occurred around the world. Earlier this week, the group signed an open letter to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum protesting the organization's condemnation of the use of Holocaust analogies during discussions of other events.

"We are deeply concerned about the Museum's recent 'Statement Regarding the Museum's Position on Holocaust Analogies.' We write this public letter to urge its retraction," the open letter, published by the New York Review of Books and dated July 1, read.

"By 'unequivocally rejecting efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary,' the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is taking a radical position that is far removed from mainstream scholarship on the Holocaust and genocide. And it makes learning from the past almost impossible."

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) attends the funeral for retired NYPD detective Luis Alvarez at Immaculate Conception Church on July 03, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. Republican Senator John Kennedy on Wednesday condemned Ocasio-Cortez for comparing migrant detention centers to "concentration camps." Spencer Platt/Getty