Pelosi, Anne Frank Center demand that Trump fire Spicer over remarks about...

Pelosi, Anne Frank Center demand that Trump fire Spicer over remarks about Hitler and Holocaust

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Photo credit: WhiteHouse.gov

WASHINGTON – White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer apologized on CNN Tuesday evening after his comments about Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust prompted politicians and Jewish organizations to demand that he be fired.

When discussing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s recent use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people and criticizing Russia’s response to the attack, Spicer said in Tuesday’s White House briefing that “we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

When a reporter questioned Spicer’s comment, the press secretary dug an even deeper hole by referring to concentration camps as “Holocaust centers.”

The reporter said, “I just want to give you an opportunity to clarify something you said that seems to be gaining some traction right now. ‘Hitler didn’t even sink to the level of using chemical weapons.’ What did you mean by that?”

Spicer responded: “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,  I mean, there was clearly – I understand your point, thank you. … Thank you, I appreciate that. There was not – he brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that. 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.

Later, the White House released a “clarification” about Spicer’s remarks.

“In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust. I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable.”

Millions people were killed in gas chambers or shot dead in Nazi Germany, according to the Anne Frank Center.

Spicer’s remarks elicited a forceful response from the center. Executive Director Steven Goldstein demanded that Spicer be fired.

In a later tweet, Goldstein said:

In a statement posted on her Twitter feed, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also told Trump that “it’s time to fire Spicer.”

“While Jewish families across America celebrate Passover, the chief spokesman of this White House is downplaying the horror of the Holocaust,” Pelosi said in the statement.

“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.”

Spicer’s remarks elicited a forceful response from other Democrats, including Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland.

Cardin folllowed up that tweet with another that said:

B’nai B’rith also condemned Spicer’s comments.

In a rare appearance on CNN, Spicer told Wolf Blitzer that the remarks were a mistake.

“It was an inappropriate and insensitive comparison … I apologize,” the press secretary said.

Blitzer repeatedly chastised Spicer and pressed him on why he would have made such a comparison. A sheepish Spicer reiterated that the comparison “was a mistake …. I shouldn’t have done it.

He added that his comments were “misstated, insensitive and wrong” and emphasized that they did not represent the president’s views.

“I’ll continue to stay in my lane … I did not want to be a distraction to the president’s agenda.”

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