During a press briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer incorrectly claimed that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons.
In fact, Hitler used hydrogen cyanide gas to kill millions of Jews who were forced into concentration camps. During the apex of Nazis power, it estimated that over 6,000 people were gassed daily.
Spicer made the claim while comparing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged long-time use of chemical weapons to the infamous German dictator.
“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.
Reporters at the press briefing immediately asked Spicer to clarify his comments, which let to a meandering statement on sarin gas, and how Assad used the chemical weapons in the middle of the night.
Outrage at Spicer’s comments was swift, with the executive director of the Anne Frank Center calling for his resignation.
“On Passover no less, Sean Spicer has engaged in Holocaust denial, the most offensive form of fake news imaginable, by denying Hitler gassed millions of Jews to death,” Steven Goldstein said. “Spicer’s statement is the most evil slur upon a group of people we have ever heard from a White House press secretary.”“President Trump must fire him at once.”
After the backlash from the comments grew throughout the day and into Wednesday, Spicer apologized while being interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blizer.
“I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas. Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison,” Spicer said. “And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”
Spicer again apologized Monday morning at a Newseum forum in Washington, calling the comments “my mistake”.
“This was mine to own, mine to apologize for. Mine to ask forgiveness for,” he said.
[Washington Post] [Politifact] [The Hill] [CNN] [CNNMoney]