Sean Spicer Apologizes For His “Insensitive” Holocaust Remarks
While talking about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer incorrectly claimed that not even Hitler used chemical weapons, then called concentration camps "Holocaust centers." On Tuesday evening, Spicer apologized for his Holocaust comments, calling them "insensitive."
Spicer went on CNN for an interview with Wolf Blitzer to talk about the situation and apologize. He told Blitzer, "I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts Assad had made against his own people last week using chemical weapons and gas. Frankly, I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison. And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that."
Spicer made his initial comment while discussing the Syrian chemical attack on citizens and Russia's decision to continue to support Assad's regime.
[W]e didn't use chemical weapons in World War II. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons. So you have to, if you're Russia, ask yourself is this a country that you and a regime that you want to align yourself with?
After questions about Spicer's claim that Hitler didn't use chemical weapons, he acknowledged that there were indeed chemical weapons used in concentration camps in the form of gas chambers, but made things worse by calling them "Holocaust centers."
He said, "[Hitler] was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing ... [H]e brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that. 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."
According to The Hill, Spicer made a statement after the press briefing:
In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust. I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable.
It is a good sign that Spicer is fully owning up to his mistake and being upfront about it. Hopefully, this is a lesson for Spicer and the Trump administration that they need to think about what they are saying before they say it. The White House press secretary is the administration's mouthpiece, and the person who fulfills the job should certainly at the very least be sensitive to tragic events in the world's history enough not to offend people when talking about them.