White House press secretary Sean Spicer apologized for comparing the crimes of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler – notably with inaccurate information – after an outcry from Jewish leaders and public officials.
On Tuesday, as a justification for a U.S. missile attack against Syria, Spicer said, “someone as despicable as Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
A reporter asked him to clarify.
“[Hitler] brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that,” Spicer said. “But I’m saying in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down to innocent, into the middle of towns. It was brought, so the use of it. I appreciate the clarification there. I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no, [Hitler] was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
Afterward on Tuesday and Wednesday, Spicer said he let President Donald J. Trump down. But Los Angeles and California leaders condemned Spicer’s comments and have called for him to be fired.
“Spicer’s denial of Hitler’s atrocities is an assault on the truth, a painful affront to Holocaust survivors and an unspeakable desecration of the memories of the millions who perished in death camps,” said City Attorney Mike Feuer, in a statement. “I invite him to travel here to visit L.A.’s Museum of the Holocaust and Museum of Tolerance, or make the short trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum so he can understand the evil of which he appears to know so little. Churchill warned that ‘those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ It’s a lesson worth heeding in these perilous times.”
Congresswoman and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was less forgiving.
“While Jewish families across America celebrate Passover, the chief spokesman of this White House is downplaying the horror of the Holocaust,” Pelosi 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.”
The National Democratic Party condemned an alleged continuation of “anti-Semitism running through the Trump administration since day one.”
“The Trump administration must apologize for this outrageous statement and their pattern of anti-Semitism, and fire white supremacists like Steve Bannon. Now,” the group said.
On his twitter page, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) quipped, “never thought I would say this, but Sean Spicer should go back to talking about crowd size at the inauguration.”
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