This week, in a move of utter cluelessness, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer decided to show off his knowledge of WW2, Hitler, The Holocaust and methods of mass killing under the Nazis. During Passover week. It went about as well as can be expected.
Spicer was holding forth, answering a question on Syrian President Assad and his use of chemical weapons on the population of Syria. In answer, Spicer waved his hand and stated how Assad was worse than Hitler, because at least Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons on his own people.
Read that again.
In the tape, you can see many heads and eyebrows in the press room go up, and as well they should. Below is the transcript. First up, the initial question from Fox News Radio’s John Decker:
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 that he’s going to pull back his support for President 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.
There was many an inward gasp at this bold, and factually incorrect statement. The remark caused a call for clarification from ABC’s Cecilia Vargas:
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 was brought — so the use of it, I appreciate the clarification there. That was not the intent.
As most people who have been paying attention (and aren’t White House Press Secretaries), Hitler used a chemical gas called Zyklon B on millions of Jews and others that he had deemed ‘inferior’. And yes, there were many, many Germans among the dead, otherwise known as ‘his own people.’ And Holocaust Centers? Really? Death camps are things that do not need a prettier name, the traditional descriptive one will do just fine. The press conference ended before more follow up questions could be asked, but that didn’t mean Spicer was finished digging his hole; he started issuing clarifications. First, to the Associated Press:
“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.”
Soon after that, Spicer clarified yet again, with the same words, but “innocent people” was changed to the even less sensical “population centers.” Evidently, Spicer thinks that Holocaust victims were not innocent. Seems like he just can’t figure out what he wanted to say about Hitler and mass killing.
Remember, this is the White House that refused to mention Jews in their official Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, and this is the same Sean Spicer that decided to pick a fight with the Anne Frank Center over that. THE ANNE FRANK CENTER. Indeed. What did they have to say about this latest misstep from the center of TrumpTown?
You’ll never get far with the public by ticking off the Anne Frank Center.
Spicer is like the uncle that comes over during the holidays with the inside scoop on everything and tells you all about it, repeatedly. Even when you point out where he’s wrong, he tells you how he’s actually right. In a relative it’s annoying, in the White House, it’s dangerous.
Donald Trump used to have a TV show where he would fire people on the air. If there has ever been anyone asking, begging, to be fired, it would be Sean Spicer, a man so in over his head he looks to be in a constant state of drowning.