Spicer apol­o­gizes, says com­par­ing Assad to Hitler was ‘in­sen­si­tive’

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY DAVE BOYER

White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer apol­o­gized Tues­day for say­ing Nazi dic­ta­tor Adolf Hitler didn’t use chem­i­cal weapons dur­ing World War II.

Re­spond­ing after calls for Pres­i­dent Trump to fire him, Mr. Spicer said the com­par­i­son he made to Syr­ian leader Bashar al-Assad dur­ing his daily press briefing was “in­sen­si­tive” and “in­ap­pro­pri­ate.”

“I apol­o­gize. It was a mis­take to do that,” Mr. Spicer said on CNN.

Mr. Spicer prompted an in­tense out­cry on so­cial me­dia by as­sert­ing that not even Hitler re­sorted to the use of chem­i­cal weapons against his own peo­ple the way Mr. Assad has done.

De­fend­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s missile strike on Mr. Assad’s mil­i­tary air base in re­sponse to a chem­i­cal weapons at­tack on civil­ians, Mr. Spicer said, “You had some­one as de­spi­ca­ble as Hitler who didn’t even sink to us­ing chem­i­cal weapons.”

Re­porters in the White House press room and com­menters on Twit­ter in­stantly noted that Hitler used chem­i­cals to gas Jews in Nazi death camps dur­ing World War II. Mr. Spicer tried to clarify his re­mark by ex­plain­ing that he meant to say that Hitler’s se­cu­rity forces never em­ployed chem­i­cal weapons on the bat­tle­field.

“He was not us­ing the gas on his own peo­ple in the same way that Assad is do­ing,” he said.

Within min­utes, the com­ments were lead­ing ca­ble news broad­casts and light­ing up so­cial me­dia with ob­ser­va­tions of dis­be­lief and con­dem­na­tion.

“I hope @PressSec takes time to visit @Holo­caustMu­seum,” tweeted for­mer first daugh­ter Chelsea Clin­ton. “It’s a few blocks away.”

House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi of Cal­i­for­nia called on the pres­i­dent to sack his spokesman.

“While Jewish fam­i­lies across Amer­ica cel­e­brate Passover, the chief spokesman of this White House is down­play­ing the hor­ror of the Holo­caust,” she said. “Sean Spicer must be fired, and the pres­i­dent must im­me­di­ately dis­avow his spokesman’s state­ments. Ei­ther he is speak­ing for the pres­i­dent, or the pres­i­dent should have known bet­ter than to hire him.”

After the briefing con­cluded, Mr. Spicer’s of­fice of­fered yet another clar­i­fi­ca­tion of his remarks.

“In no way was I try­ing to lessen the hor­ren­dous na­ture of the Holo­caust,” the state­ment said. “How­ever, I was try­ing to draw a con­trast of the tac­tic of us­ing air­planes to drop chem­i­cal weapons on pop­u­la­tion cen­ters.”

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