Chelsea Clinton Told Sean Spicer To Go To The Holocaust Museum

by Joseph D. Lyons
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stepped in it again Tuesday while speaking with reporters about Syria. "Hitler didn't even sink to the level of using chemical weapons," Spicer said, evidently forgetting completely that millions of European Jews were killed in gas chambers using the poison gas Zyklon B. Reactions came in swift and strong — many calling for his firing — but one in particular stood out as being particularly apt. Chelsea Clinton responded to Spicer's Hitler claim by suggesting he take some time to educate himself at the Holocaust Museum.

She wrote on Twitter that she hoped Spicer "takes time to visit @HolocaustMuseum. It's a few blocks away." She's of course referring to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. That's basically on the other side of the Washington Monument from the White House, and according to Google Maps would take Spicer just six minutes driving down 15th Street. Given that hundreds of school groups have made the trek and learned the basic facts, it's frightening to think that someone working in the highest levels of the administration perhaps does not.

Because even after Spicer "apologized," it remained clear that he had a lot to learn. He went on to make it worse trying to dig himself out of the hole:

I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no … he was not using the gas on his own people in the same way that Assad is doing. There was not … he brought them into the Holocaust centers, I understand that. But what I’m saying is the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down into the middle of towns. So, the use of it, I appreciate the clarification. That was not the intent.

There's a couple of things wrong here. One, "Holocaust centers?" When have concentration camps ever been called that? And then the idea that Hitler "was not using the gas on his own people" is just ridiculous. The German Jews were German, as were many of the gay people, political dissidents, and others who were killed in places like Auschwitz.

And sometimes it happened even in the middle of towns in Germany. Those with mental disabilities or physical handicaps were killed by the SS early on in Nazi Germany in gas vans. The Holocaust Museum says that "Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) gassed hundreds of thousands of people" starting in 1941. But evidently Spicer missed that history lesson.

This is a fireable offense in the opinion of many Democrats and groups connected to remembering the Holocaust. The National Jewish Democratic Council condemned with strong language. "No amount of clarification or walking back from the press secretary’s office should be accepted for Spicer’s horrific mistake. We demand a full apology and a promise that these sorts of dangerous comparisons by the Trump administration are over,” the group said in a statement.

President Trump seems to be fine with this sort of grave error, but he really shouldn't be. No one should.