Attempting to justify Donald Trump's unilateral decision to launch ineffective airstrikes on Syria, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made just the administration's problems much worse, claiming — absurdly — that even Hitler "didn't sink to using chemical weapons." Millions of Jews slaughtered in gas chambers would beg to differ.
See update below.
Donald Trump’s administration has had a long history of troubling winks, nods, and outright ties to anti-Semitism. And they have repeatedly offended the Jewish community: By leaving anti-Semitism out of its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement; being slow to denounce anti-Semitic attacks; attacking a Jewish reporter who asked about them; theorizing that those attacks were a false flag; and ending President Obama’s tradition of attending a Passover Seder.
And this history was just aggravated by Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely claiming that Hitler never used chemical weapons.
At his daily press briefing, Spicer was asked by Fox News Radio reporter Jon Decker what reason Putin would have to break his alliance with Assad at this point.
Spicer gave this bewildering response:
DECKER: The alliance between Russia and Syria is a strong one. It goes back decades. President Putin has supplied personnel, he has supplied military equipment to the Assad government. What makes you think at this point he’s going to pull back his support for Assad and for the Syrian government right now?
SPICER: I think a couple things. You look — we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You had a — someone who is despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.
Hitler infamously used the chemical weapon Zyklon B to slaughter millions of Jews during the Holocaust.
Spicer’s stunning gaffe is especially troubling in the context of this White House’s history on the subject matter. And in trying to clean up the mess of Trump’s attack on Syria, Spicer’s ridiculously revisionist history just made the mess much worse.
Update: Spicer tried to clean up his gaffe later in the briefing, but made things even worse by asserting that Hitler wasn’t “using the gas on his own people,” and that he brought German Jews “to the Holocaust centers”:
VARGAS: Quote, “Hitler didn’t even sink to the level of using chemical weapons.” What did you mean by that?
SPICER: 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 Ashad (sic) is doing. I mean, there is clearly — thank you. I appreciate that. There was not — in the — he brought them into the Holocaust centers, 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 brought — so the use of it, I appreciate the clarification there. That was not the intent.
Sean Spicer should stop digging.