On Monday, democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was criticized for pushing photos of herself seemingly intended to help quell the blowback she’s received from equating detention centers at the United States/Mexico border with WWII-era concentration camps.
The photos were apparently taken at a Tornillo, Texas, detention center, but did not show the conditions the congresswoman was upset about, rather, the pictures were merely of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez looking sad by a chain-linked fence. Users online, many of whom identify as her supporters, mocked the “photo-op” and suggested the pictures were “staged.”
“Before [AOC] hit the national stage & was just a fairly unknown House candidate [from] NYC, she took time [away from] her campaign & came [down] to #Tornillo to protest the #tentcity housing migrant children.I made these previously unpublished [photos] a [year] ago today,” posted Ivan Pierre Aguirre, the man who took the photos of Ocasio-Cortez.
AOC pushed the photos to her 4.5 million-plus followers on Twitter, captioning the tweet, “I’ll never forget this, because it was the moment I saw with my own eyes that the America I love was becoming a nation that steals refugee children from their parents,& caged them.”
“More kids died after this. To date, no one has been held accountable,” she added. “We need to save these kids.”
While some praised the freshman congresswoman for looking sincerely heartbroken, not all her supporters were won over.
“I love AOC but these images feel so staged, it undermines her credibility on these issues. This crisis is not about ‘striking’ photos of a Congresswoman, it is about DYING CHILDREN,” one woman wrote.
When an AOC defender claimed the elected Democrat was not “posing,” but merely “caught by a photog on the scene,” the woman responded: “This is not an example of that. I reiterate these feel contrived and staged, not organic. This is a bad look.”
Another left-wing Twitter user criticized, “Show the children and the conditions! This isn’t about her face. Not helping.”
Other reactions of a similar flavor flooded the replies to the tweets:
“And at such a relief she was able to be followed by a photographer on this day. Instead of you know, just going like a regular person,” one user said.
“Regurgitated [public relations] stunt,” another reply said, linking to photos of AOC in black and white posted by Pierre Aguirre in June of last year.
“Make sure to look into the camera for max sympathy,” a tweet mocked.
“Thanks for showing me a ton of pics of the terrible conditions and not just a bunch of selfies,” one sarcastic tweet reads.
“If these photos were about the camps, the photos would be of the camps!” a woman argued. “The comments are about the main subject of the photos. The criticism is not directed towards an agreement or disagreement of the situation, it is towards an obvious PR stunt USING the children as props!”
“These are the most staged photos I’ve seen. You used this place and people for a photo op….pretty sick,” a reply said.
“Sorry this to me looks like a staged photo OP,” another user agreed. “Tragic situation none the less at the border but none of this was candid in nature.”
On June 17, Ocasio-Cortez posted an Instagram story lamenting the detention centers at the Southern border, describing them as “concentration camps.”
The government is “running concentration camps on our southern border,” she told her followers, according to Fox News.
“That is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps,” AOC continued, adding that she wants to talk to people “who are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘Never Again’ means something,” a direct reference to the Holocaust.
“The fact that concentrations camps are now an institutionalized practice in the Home of the Free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The backlash against the congresswoman has been fierce. As reported by The Daily Wire on Sunday, two Holocaust survivors ripped AOC in a Turning Point USA video over the remarks, arguing that the 29-year-old was “insulting every victim of the Holocaust.” Moreover, on Monday, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum said in a statement that it “unequivocally rejects efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary. That position has repeatedly and unambiguously been made clear in the Museum’s official statement on the matter – a statement that is reiterated and reaffirmed now.”