- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence criticized Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Monday for cheapening the Holocaust by comparing the Nazi death camps to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol detention facilities for illegal immigrants.

“To compare the humane work of dedicated men and women of Customs and Border Protection with the horrors of the Holocaust is an outrage,” Mr. Pence said Monday at the Christians United for Israel summit in Washington. “The Nazis took lives. American law enforcement saves lives every day.”

The vice president used the speech to highlight what he called Democrats’ hypocrisy in failing to address the humanitarian crisis at the border. He also accused the Democratic Party of abandoning Israel, saying the party “has been co-opted by people who promote rank, anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

“The party that has been home to so many American Jews for so long recently couldn’t even muster the votes to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism in a resolution,” he said.

Mr. Pence aimed most of his criticism at Ms. Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who visited a detention center in Texas last week and compared it to Nazi “concentration camps.” Her comment has sparked widespread condemnation of the comparison.

“We must never allow the memory of those lost in the Holocaust to be [cheapened] or used as a cliché to advance some left-wing political narrative,” Mr. Pence said. “But sadly, in recent weeks, that’s exactly what some Democrats have tried to do. And her allies in Congress, the left, and the media shamefully came to her defense.”

He noted that Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, when asked Monday whether she agreed with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s characterization, said “absolutely.”

The vice president called the lawmakers’ remarks a “slander of law enforcement” and “an insult to the six million killed in the Holocaust.”

“It should be condemned by every American of every political party everywhere!” Mr. Pence said to applause.

American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen said Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s “theatrics are unacceptable.”

“Her use of words and phrases which conjure painful emotional triggers for the Jewish people displays obliviousness to the feelings and history of Jews, and demeans her own cause by rendering these words elastic and adaptable for political purposes,” he said.

Mr. Rosen said the situation on the border “is brutal and countermands America’s deepest-held values.”

“But connecting it to the Holocaust in order to get attention and score political points is lazy and divisive; what we need is real effort and solidarity among people of goodwill to confront the problem,” he said.

The president last week signed a $4.6 billion spending bill to provide more humanitarian aid and shelter for illegal immigrants apprehended at the border. Mr. Pence said Monday the U.S. facilities have been “overwhelmed” by the recent rise of border crossings.

“We’re actually on track, this year, to see … nearly a million people to come across our southern border to take advantage of well-advertised loopholes in America’s asylum laws,” Mr. Pence said.

He criticized congressional Democrats, saying they “denied there was even a crisis at our border” for the past six months.

“They called it a ‘manufactured crisis,’ ” he said. “In so doing, they denied additional funding to care for the vulnerable families flowing across our southern border. And as I stand here today, they continue to refuse to close the loopholes used by human traffickers to exploit those vulnerable families.”

He told the audience, “You all deserve to know the same members of Congress who had the gall to compare our detention facilities to concentration camps voted against providing additional humanitarian aid to the same facilities they denounced.”

“In the face of that type of Democrat obstruction, I’ll make you a promise: Under this president’s leadership, we will secure our border,” Mr. Pence said. “We will provide compassionate relief to vulnerable families swept up in the crisis. And we will fix this broken immigration system once and for all.”

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