Late-night comedian Bill Maher said Friday that it’s going to be “very hard” for the Democrats to beat President Trump in 2020 if they campaign on “reparations and concentration camps.”
“If you want to run a campaign based on reparations and concentration camps then it’s going to be very hard to win the election,” Mr. Maher told the panel on his HBO show “Real Time.”
“I’m not saying you can’t do it, but it would be very hard to argue that this is helping,” he added.
His comments come after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sparked widespread criticism last week for repeatedly calling migrant detention facilities “concentration camps.” Some Democratic lawmakers and presidential hopefuls have also pushed for slavery reparations ahead of the 2020 election.
Mr. Maher, a Democrat, said Ms. Ocasio-Cortez using the term “concentration camp” is irresponsible because it invokes the Holocaust, which is in no way comparable to the border crisis.
“They are horrible places, I think we all agree it’s just beyond the pale that America would do this to people,” he said of migrant detention facilities. “And concentration camps, maybe they fit that definition technically, but there are certain words that we just associate with something truly at the ultimate end of horrendous. ‘Holocaust’ just means a big fire, but we don’t use the word, ‘Hey, let’s go have a holocaust, I’ll bring the wieners.’ No one says that.
“When we think of concentration camps, I don’t know what you think, I think of mass graves,” he added. “I think of experimenting on human people.”
Columnist and activist Dan Savage vehemently disagreed, saying the language is important in order to bring more attention to the situation at the border.
“The concentration camps came first. It was a step on the road to the death camps,” Mr. Savage said. “And we need to use the language to describe actually what’s happening right now. … We’re on the road to fascism.”
“Wow, and people call me an alarmist,” Mr. Maher scoffed. “It is technically accurate but it has a connotation that goes far beyond as so many words do.”
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