Sean Spicer Apologizes for Controversial Holocaust Comments
“He was not using the gas on his own people in the same way that Assad is doing," Spicer said, drawing immediate backlash and calls from the Anne Frank Center and Barbra Streisand that he be fired.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer apologized late Tuesday afternoon for comments he made about Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust earlier in the day during a press corps briefing.
"I mistakenly used an inappropriate, insensitive reference to the Holocaust for which there is no comparison," Spicer told CNN.
Spicer faced instant backlash on Tuesday when he told the press corps Hitler did not use chemical weapons.
Spicer made the comment about the World War II Nazi leader while talking about Syria President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime recently used chemical weapons on those within his country.
White House reporters, no doubt seeing that Spicer was trending within moments of making the statement, asked if he wanted to clarify what he meant.
Sean Spicer: I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, there is no comparison https://t.co/6SwTJwLWJw— CNN (@CNN) April 11, 2017
“He was not using the gas on his own people in the same way that Assad is doing,” he replied, muddling the issue further.
Not long after the presser, Spicer released yet another clarification on his previous statements.
"In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust, however, I was trying to draw a contrast of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on innocent people," he said in a statement shared through reporters.
The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect called for Spicer's immediate termination.
"Spicer's statement is the most evil slur upon a group of people we have ever heard from a White House press secretary," said Steven Goldstein, executive director for the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, wrote on Twitter: "I hope @PressSec takes time to visit @HolocaustMuseum. It's a few blocks away."
Barbra Streisand also blasted Spicer for the comment.
"Sean Spicer should be fired for saying Hitler did not use chemical weapons on "his own people.” You mean 6 million Jews don’t count?," Streisand tweeted.
Some politicians joined the chorus, saying Spicer crossed a line.
“Sean Spicer must be fired, and the President must immediately disavow his spokesman’s statements," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "Either he is speaking for the President, or the President should have known better than to hire him.”