White House press secretary Sean Spicer continued his mea culpa on Wednesday after saying that not even Adolf Hitler used chemical weapons.
During his daily briefing Tuesday, Spicer compared Syrian President Bashar Assad to the Nazi leader, saying, “You had a — someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Spicer was referring to the alleged gas attack carried out by Assad’s forces on April 4. Hitler gassed millions of people in concentration camps, including German Jews.
“I made a mistake,” Spicer told MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren during an interview at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “There’s no other way to say it. I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have and I screwed up. I mean, you know, and I hope people understand that we all make mistakes. I hope I showed that I understand that I did that and that I saw people’s forgiveness because I screwed up.”
Sean Spicer on Hitler comments: "I got into a topic that I shouldn't have and I screwed up" https://t.co/UYzlHw46le
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 12, 2017
Spicer added later that he thought he had let President Donald Trump down distracting from his message.
“I think he’s had an unbelievable successful couple of weeks,” Spicer said, referring to Trump. “And when you’re distracting from that message of accomplishment and that’s your job, is to be the exact opposite, on a professional level it’s disappointing because I think I’ve let the president down and so on both a personal level and a professional level that will definitely go down as not a very good day in my history.”
Spicer wouldn’t say whether he had talked to Trump, who is known to watch Spicer’s briefings, about the slip, saying only: “This was my mistake, my bad, that I needed to fix.”
Spicer clarified later in the briefing Tuesday that he understood that Assad brought poison gases into “Holocaust centers,” but that Hitler did not use chemical weapons “in the way Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down to innocent — into the middle of towns.”
He also confirmed to CNN that he had had a “private conversation” with Jewish Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson’s top political adviser, Andy Abboud, presumably about the gaffe.