White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made several mistakes about the Holocaust during a televised briefing with journalists on Tuesday. Spicer’s uninformed comments led to widespread outcry and condemnation in the media and online, with comments from celebrities including Barbra Streisand, Mark Ruffalo and Chelsea Clinton that has many calling for his dismissal.
When asked about President Donald Trump’s bombing of a Syrian airfield in response to a chemical attack by the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Spicer erroneously claimed Adolf Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons in WWII.
“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t sink to using chemical weapons,” he said. “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?'”
Of course, Hitler did use chemical weapons to kill more than six million Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies, dissidents and more people during WWII. Spicer’s attempt to then clarify his comments may have made his remarks even worse as he added, Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
Spicer then referred to the Nazi concentration camps and gas chambers where Hitler ordered the extermination of people through the use of chemical gas agents as “Holocaust centres”, repeatedly mis-pronouncing Assad’s name as “Ashad.”
“But I’m saying in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down into the middle of towns,” he further states.
Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, tweeted that Trump should remove Spicer from his post for his offensive remarks and downplaying the horror of the Holocaust.
NBC News editor Bradd Jaffy tweeted Spicer’s continued clarifications of his initial clarifying comments during the press briefing.
Spicer’s statement comes on the first day of Passover, the Jewish holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Passover is often used as a metaphor for the oppression Jews have faced throughout history, including at the hands of Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
In the wake of Spicer’s comments, social media exploded with outrage and shock as many took to Twitter to educate Spicer on the Holocaust.