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MSNBC host says proposed detention center rules ‘textbook definition of concentration camps’

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MSNBC was predictably up in arms over President Trump’s latest efforts to stem the immigration crisis at the Mexican border.

John Heilemann, who was the guest host on Wednesday’s “Deadline: White House,” rolled out the usual criticisms and even made a comparison of migrant detention facilities to concentration camps during a panel discussion on the Trump administration’s proposal to hold migrant families for longer than 20 days.

(Video: MSNBC via MRC)

“So, the President of the United States has the children on his mind. Today, we learned what he would like to do with those children when they arrive in this country seeking asylum: he wants to hold them and their families in detention centers indefinitely,” Heilemann said dramatically.

“That means potentially forever,” he emphasized.

Heilemann read from an NBC News report that stated “the new rule may be in defiance of a 2015 federal court ruling known as the Flores agreement that limited the time families could be detained to 20 days.” The proposed plan, which won’t go into effect for 60 days, would effectively end the Obama-era child separation policy which the left continues to blame on Trump.

Correspondent Julia Ainsley accused the administration of “throwing things against the wall to see what works,” contending that they are looking forward to likely court battles as a way to move ahead with efforts to curb the illegal immigration situation.

NPR’s Maria Hinojosa noted that the “family detention” policy began in Texas under President George W. Bush in 2005, as “people saw the little baby prison garb, you know, for toddlers, people freaked out” and it was “shut down.”

Heilemann chimed in to refer back to controversial comments made by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez which “raised the hackles of people in the Trump administration.”

“When you start talking about permanent detention facilities for minorities in any extant country, it’s like in the textbook definition of what a concentration camp is: permanent detention. That’s what that is…at least one important part of what a concentration camp is,” he said.

“I mean, as much cruelty as we see on the…behalf of this administration, is that really a charge that this administration wants to give fuel to? Because it’s going to become increasingly hard to not call that what it is,” he added.

Though the Trump proposal is not aimed at detaining all minorities, but rather holding asylum seekers until their claims are reviewed and decided on by a judge, the MSNBC host still claimed “we all now accept he’s a racist.”

“He’s a racist, right?” Heilemann asked his panel. “But he’s really…he’s not happy about the fact that he’s being known as the racist President. Does he really want to be known as the concentration camp President?”

As he broke away from the discussion, Heilemann added a cautionary word for Democrats.

“All I will say is Democrats out there who are running for President in 2020, if you cannot make a winning political issue out of the way this administration has handled this issue on the border,” he said, “you are the most politically inept party and set of candidates in the history of the world.”

Frieda Powers


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