After his most recent and worst blunder, which left a briefing room in stunned silence and others demanding his dismissal by President Trump, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has apologized for telling reporters on Tuesday that chemical weapons weren’t used during World War II.
“You look – we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” Spicer told a room full of reporters on Tuesday. “You know, you had a – you know, someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to … using chemical weapons.” Spicer must have either forgotten or just completely disregarded the Hitler regime’s use of Zyklon B, a cyanide gas, to eradicate over six million jews in concentration camps, as well as gypsies, homosexuals, priests, political dissidents and other enemies of the state.
One needs to tread carefully when making comparisons to possibly the most abhorrent individual in human history and Spicer’s remarks were met with audible gasps and groans from the gallery. After fielding a question about the annual White House Easter Egg Roll event, Spicer was asked to clarify his comments about Adolf Hitler. “He was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing,” mispronouncing Assad’s name along the way and later referring to the Nazi’s concentration camps as “holocaust centers.”
The timing of the claim only intensified the situation as millions of Jews across the United States and around the world celebrate passover, one of the most important Jewish holidays. After a very negative response, Spicer took to CNN to give an apology and offer an explanation of his comments in an interview with Wolf Blitzer, a reporter whose paternal grandparents perished at the hands of the Nazis, while both of his parents are holocaust survivors.
“There’s really is no explaining it at this point,” Spicer told Blitzer. “It’s just to say that especially this week, it was not something that was appropriate.” When Blitzer pressed him as to who he was apologizing to, Spicer responded, “Well, clearly, anybody who not just suffered in the holocaust or is a descendant of anybody, but frankly anyone who was offended by those comments,” adding “I should have stayed focused on the Assad regime and the dangers they have brought to their own people and the terrible atrocities that they did and to drag any other comparison into this was not appropriate.”
Despite how sincere Spicer’s apology may or may not have been, many believe that not only was this particular gaffe one too many, but simply crossing a boundary as well. Twitter has since been buzzing with tweets calling for Spicer’s head and offering friendly and not-so-friendly advice on how he could possibly further educate himself on the horrors of the holocaust:
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) April 11, 2017
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) April 11, 2017
— Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) April 11, 2017
Never thought I would say this, but Sean Spicer should go back to talking about crowd size at the inauguration. https://t.co/D2JZLuypiw
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 11, 2017