White House press secretary Sean Spicer is in the middle of an apology tour after making a statement that belittled victims of the Holocaust and slightly humanized Hitler.
While speaking on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical attack on his own people, Spicer took it upon himself to explain just how bad that is by comparing his actions to the maligned leader of the Nazi party, according to The Washington Post.
“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You know, you had a, you know, someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said in the full quote. “So you have to if you’re Russia, ask yourself: Is this a country that you, and a regime, that you want to align yourself with? You have previously signed onto international agreements, rightfully acknowledging that the use of chemical weapons should be out of bounds by every country.”
The room full of media professionals immediately jumped on the quote and reminded Spencer that Hitler did, in fact, use chemical weapons during the Holocaust.
Oh, and in his later clarification, he referred to concentration camps as a “Holocaust center,” making them sound like a twisted summer camp.
The delayed reaction to Spicer’s comments was even louder than the first as his critics came together to call him out. Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, even suggested that Spicer be fired for engaging “in Holocaust denial, the most offensive form of fake news imaginable, by denying Hitler gassed millions of Jews to death.”
Not that the Trump administration isn’t used to criticism. But this may be the most one-sided instance that Spicer has been at the center of on his own. As a result, he’s now apologized more than once for the huge mistake he made at the podium on Monday.
“I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad made against his own people last week using chemical weapons and gas,” he said during an appearance on “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer.” ” And frankly I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust for which frankly there is no comparison. For that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”
“Did you not know, Sean, that there were gas chambers where the Nazis brought Jews and others…to slaughter them in these poison gas chambers at Birkenau, near Auswchwitz and other death camps?” asked Blitzer.
“Yes, clearly I’m aware of that,” Spicer replied. “Again, it’s as I said initially, there’s no attempt to clarify this, the point was to try and talk about the use of aircraft as a means by which Assad was using this to gas his people. But it was a mistake to do that, and again, that’s why I should’ve just stayed on topic, stayed focused on the actions that Assad had taken, and the horrible atrocities he committed against his own people.”