White House press secretary Sean Spicer apologised for his controversial comments about the Holocaust after setting off a firestorm of criticism at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which, frankly, there is no comparison,” Spicer said in an interview with CNN host Wolf Blitzer. “And for that, I apologise.”
Hours earlier, Spicer shocked reporters by saying that unlike Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons.
His subsequent attempts to clarify the false claim seemingly made things worse when he said Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people” the way Assad allegedly did, and referred to concentration camps as “Holocaust centres.”
But in the interview with Blitzer, Spicer said he’s “not in any way standing by” his remarks, and said he apologised to “anybody not just who suffered in the Holocaust or is a descendant of anybody, but frankly, anyone who was offended by those comments.”
Blitzer pressed Spicer, asking whether he knew that Hitler used gas chambers to exterminate Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and other people at death camps across Nazi Germany.
“Clearly I’m aware of that,” Spicer said.
He continued: “The point was to try to talk about the use of aircraft as a means by which Assad was using this to gas his people, but it was a mistake to do that.
“I should have just stayed on topic, stayed focused on the actions that Assad has taken and the horrible atrocities he committed against his own people.”
Watch videos of the interview below:
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