House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a Tuesday statement that White House press secretary Sean Spicer “must be fired” after a dubious claim about Hitler and several subsequent clarifications.
The California Democrat also called for President Donald Trump to “immediately disavow” Spicer’s remarks.
“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.”
During the Tuesday press briefing, Spicer was asked about the Syrian government’s recent use of chemical weapons on its citizens, an action that caused the US to respond with missile strikes on the airfield from which the brutal attack was launched, and its alliance with Russia.
“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” he said. “You had someone as despicable as Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons. If you’re Russia, you have to ask yourself if this is a country and regime that you want to align yourself with.”
Hitler, the fascist dictator of Nazi Germany, used chemical weapons in gas chambers to exterminate millions of Jews, in addition to members of the LGBTQ community, the disabled, and others in Eastern Europe.
Asked to clarify his earlier comment, Spicer said: “When it comes to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
“He 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. That was not the intent.”
Spicer later issued a subsequent clarification to an NBC reporter.
“In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust, however, I was trying to draw a contrast of the tactic of using aeroplanes to drop chemical weapons on innocent people,” he said.
And later, he issued yet another clarification to the White House press pool.
“In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust,” Spicer said. “I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using aeroplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centres. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable.”
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