Nancy Pelosi Responds to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 'Concentration Camps' Remark, Warns Democrats About 'Politically Charged' Atmosphere

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Democrats to watch what they say in today's "politically charged" climate after freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came under fire for classifying immigrant detention centers as concentration camps.

"They come to represent their districts and their point of view," Pelosi said of freshman Democrats during a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday morning. "They take responsibility for the statements they make."

Pelosi went on to warn the Democratic caucus as a whole about "how politically charged the atmosphere is" and that their rivals may exploit the comments they make. She told reporters that she had not talked to Ocasio-Cortez about her recent comments slamming immigrant detention centers.

The New York Democrat was widely criticized this week after she alleged that the government was operating "concentration camps" for migrants along the U.S-Mexico border during an Instagram live video on Monday evening.

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"I want to talk to people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that 'never again' means something," Ocasio-Cortez said in the video. "The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the 'Home of the Free' is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it."

Earlier this month, the Trump administration moved to end all educational, recreational and legal services that are offered to migrant children being held in U.S. custody. The Office of Refugee Resettlement said that due to "tremendous strain," they would be cutting programs that are "not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety" of the children in their care.

The White House also recently announced plans to begin deporting millions of illegal immigrants, a proposal Pelosi slammed as "utter malice and bigotry."

nancy pelosi warns democrats political atmosphere
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, pauses while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Pelosi warned Democrats on Wednesday about "how politically charged the atmosphere is" and that their Republican opponents are poised to exploit their comments. Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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"The President must walk away from these cruel, ineffective and discriminatory policies, and work with Democrats to support smart, effective immigration reform that honors our values and keeps families together and safe," Pelosi said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Republicans immediately jumped on Ocasio-Cortez in light of her comments and accused her of demeaning Holocaust victims with her comparison of concentration camps and migrant detention centers.

Representative Liz Cheney tweeted that the freshman Democrat should "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."

But Ocasio-Cortez pushed back against her critics, tweeting that the government has established facilities where immigrants are "being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying."

"And for the shrieking Republicans who don't know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as 'the mass detention of civilians without trial.' And that's exactly what this administration is doing," she added.

Nancy Pelosi Responds to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 'Concentration Camps' Remark, Warns Democrats About 'Politically Charged' Atmosphere | U.S.