Sean Spicer is reliably, sometimes even endearingly, terrible at his job as Press Secretary. But his comments during Tuesday’s press briefing on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler are astonishing. Not just because they’re blatantly, breathtakingly wrong, but because a man whose job is remembering and relaying facts can’t accurately recount one of the most notorious events of the 20th century.
While discussing America’s recent missile strike on a Syrian airfield, Spicer reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to removing al-Assad, saying his decision to use chemical weapons against civilians forced the US to react. Then, totally unprompted, Spicer compared al-Assad to Adolf Hitler, saying, “You had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Spicer on Syria: “You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons…” pic.twitter.com/UN3JfRRg0w
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) April 11, 2017
The White House Press Secretary just told the American press circuit that Adolf Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons. Is Spicer drunk, forgetful or just unimaginably bad at his job?
Another reporter, seeing that Spicer’s comments immediately started making the rounds on Twitter, offered him the chance to clarify his statement. And you, dear reader, might think it couldn’t possibly get worse from there.
You’d be wrong, of course, as it went from a trainwreck to a nuclear disaster.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 11, 2017
Spicer, seemingly unable to summon the words “concentration camps”, instead referred to them as “Holocaust centres”, saying, “There was not, in the, he brought them into, to the Holocaust centre. I understand that.”
Presumably, Spicer is trying to make the (irrelevant, irresponsible) point that Syrians were targeted by chemical attacks in their own homes while Jews were targeted with chemical attacks in the camps. That the US Press Secretary can’t even make a cogent point when asked to expound upon his own example — Spicer brought up Hitler, no one else did — is pathetic. Why bring it up if you don’t know crap about it? Why do you have this job, Sean?
Concerns about anti-semitism have swirled around the Trump administration, and Spicer specifically, since January when the official White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day didn’t actually mention Jews. Spicer has since feuded the Anne Frank Center and lashed out at anyone saying Trump hasn’t done enough to combat anti-semitism. These comments, however, have to be his worst yet.