White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday evening apologized for stating earlier in the day that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons, even though Hitler killed millions of Jews, many of whom perished in gas chambers.
“I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that 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 frankly there is no comparison,” Spicer said on CNN. “And for that, I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”
He added that he was “not in any way standing by” his previous comments.
During the White House daily press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Spicer discussed why he thought Russia would stop supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after the chemical attack.
“I think a couple things. You look — we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” Spicer said. “You had a — 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?”
However, Hitler used poisonous gas to kill millions of Jews during the Holocaust.
When he was asked to clarify his comments later in the press briefing, Spicer said, “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
The press secretary then released a series of statements, making small updates to his explanation for his comment.
“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 airplanes to drop chemical weapons on innocent people,” he said in the first statement.
He then changed “innocent people” to “population centers” in another statement: “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 airplanes to drop chemical weapons on innocent people.”
Spicer followed up with a similar statement that added the line: “Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable.”
Watch Spicer’s interview on CNN: