MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The White House said Tuesday the Syrian regime and Russia are trying to “confuse the world community about who is responsible for using chemical weapons against the Syrian people last week, killing over 80 people including children.
Senior administration officials are accusing the Russian government of helping the Syrian regime cover-up chemical weapons still in the country.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, in an effort to shame Russia’s alliance with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his use of chemical weapons, made a comment that has sparked some uproar.
“We didn’t use chemical weapons in WWII – you had 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 want to align yourself with,” said Spicer.
While Hitler did not use chemical weapons on the battlefield, Hitler and the Nazis used gas chambers to exterminate Jews, disabled people and others.
When a reporter asked for a clarification about the comments that Hitler did not use chemical weapons, Spicer said, “I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
Spicer also said the difference is that Hitler did not use airplanes to drop chemical weapons on his own people.
“What I’m saying is he didn’t drop them in the middle of cities. I appreciate that was not the intent,” said Spicer.
Following the briefing, Spicer issued a statement to clear up his Hitler comment. He said he in no way was trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust.
Still, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is calling for President Donald Trump to fire Spicer.
“Sean Spicer must be fired, and the President must immediately disavow his spokesman’s statements,” read part of the statement.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) also issued a statement, saying,
“Contrary to White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s ignorant and offensive remarks, Hitler did use chemical weapons to systematically murder millions of Jews. It’s stunning and unbelievable that this basic fact eludes the White House, and worse, that these latest comments fall within a troubling pattern of Holocaust apathy and denial by the Trump Administration. The fact that we are having to provide this history lesson during the Jewish holiday of Passover is especially disgraceful. At the very least, Mr. Spicer should take some time off and visit the Holocaust Museum, or he’s more than welcome to visit my district and hear first-hand accounts of this atrocity from any of the thousands of survivors who live in my community.”
Shortly after Spicer’s comment, the U.S. Holocaust Museum took to social media to share a video about the victims of the Holocaust.
— US Holocaust Museum (@HolocaustMuseum) April 11, 2017