“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II.” If this phrase seems odd to you, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans stood in something like horrific awe this week as Sean Spicer, Press Secretary of the United States, delivered the message to baffled onlookers at a conference.
But it didn’t just stop there. Spicer went on to also claim that, “You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” When confronted on the matter, he attempted to backpedal.
“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.”
The situation spiraled further out of control when a Jewish reporter heckled him from the floor for his nightmarishly lacking comments. Spicer again tried to reroute the conversation.
“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 into the middle of towns.”
A short while later he exited the podium. That’s about when the internet picked up its next sensation — outrage at Spicer. The conversation and phrases immediately went viral, and the government was left scrambling to cover for Spicer in the wake of his damage. Condemnations began to roll in from Israel and just about every Jewish organizations in the country, with some calling for his resignation.
Later that evening, Spicer held a press conference in an attempt to fix the massive public relations disaster he had caused. But the apology felt weak and tossed-together, more like a patronizing attempt to some.
“I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas. Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison,” Spicer said in an interview with Wolf Blitzer. “And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”
Spicer has yet to release his resignation, but given his past faux pas in the face of the media, one has to wonder how much longer the professional has left in his career. He also defended Trump in January for failing to draw attention to Holocaust Day, and was a major proponent of the claim that Trump had the largest inauguration ceremony ever. He was also one of the first governmental media professionals to declare that, “Sometimes we can disagree with the facts.” This is especially difficult to swallow given that the man is supposed to be a media professional and thus, makes his entire living on understanding the importance of fact-checking.
Thousands are now calling on the White House to rescind his job and send him packing, but it’s not the first time Spicer has been in hot water. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is leading the charge in the crusade for Spicer’s head, speaking out about the link between his remarks and the fact that they were said at all during Passover.
“While Jewish families across America celebrate Passover, the chief spokesman of this White House is downplaying the horror of the Holocaust. 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.”
Over the last 24 hours, political figures and celebrities have slowly spoken out on Twitter, Facebook, and other large-scale media against the Press Secretary. No word from the POTUS just yet on how he feels about the comments, or whether or not he plans to relieve Spicer of duty.
What do you think about Spicer’s comments? Was this a once-off accident or an incident worthy of scorn? Let us know in the comments below.