We are somehow on Day 2 of the “are the migrant detention centers concentration camps?” discourse, because one full day of arguing about this—all while migrants and migrant children continue to be detained in overcrowded, dehumanizing facilities—wasn’t nearly enough. Indeed, now Meet the Press’ Chuck Todd has decided to chime in.
“You can call our government’s detention of migrants many things, depending on how you see it,” he said, in a Meet the Press daily clip on Wednesday. “It’s a stain on our nation, maybe. A necessary evil to others. A deal with an untenable situation, perhaps. But you know what you can’t call it?”
Todd played Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram story, in which she called the detention centers “concentration camps,” kicking off this 24-plus-hour nightmare, then continued:
Tens of thousands were also brutalized, tortured, starved, and ultimately died in concentration camps. Camps like Dachau. If you want to criticize the shameful treatment of people at our southern border, fine, you’ll have plenty of company. But be careful comparing them to Nazi concentration camps. Because they’re not at all comparable. In the slightest.
First and foremost: AOC did not call them “Nazi” concentration camps, a fact Todd actually noted before immediately contradicting himself and suggesting she did. Secondly, experts not named Chuck Todd have, in fact, confirmed that the migrant detention centers closely align with the technical definition of a concentration camp. Per Merriam-Webster, that is a “ a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard,” which, uh, sounds a lot like what’s going on at the southern border.
Todd’s screed doesn’t even have a point—he argues that “Some Democrats have been reluctant to condemn her remarks,” noting that Representative Jerry Nadler tweeted in support of AOC yesterday. This support, Todd claimed, was not because Nadler actually agreed with AOC, but because of “people not wanting to get criticized on Twitter.”
That’s a crock of shit. Nadler said what plenty of us are thinking: that the migrant detention centers are more than just “shameful” and a “stain,” but deeply, deeply wrong. So wrong, in fact, that if invoking one of the most horrifying genocides in recent history calls attention to the extent of that wrongness, so be it. Chuck Todd is pointing fingers at the wrong people. Enough.