Spicer apologises for 'inexcusable' Hitler gaffe

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, April 12 (IANS) White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer apologised Wednesday for saying that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was worse than Adolf Hitler and for inaccurately claiming the Nazi dictator had not used chemical weapons during World War II.

Spicer called his high-profile gaffe "inexcusable" and "reprehensible", reported New York Daily News.

"On both a personal and professional level, that will go down as not a very good day in my history," Spicer said during a question-and-answer session on a panel at the Newseum in Washington D.C.

"This was my mistake, my bad, that I needed to fix," Spicer added.

"I let the President down," he said, calling his comments a day earlier "reprehensible."

Spicer has been at the centre of a growing firestorm since he at his daily press briefing on Tuesday made series of "jaw-dropping" comments in an attempt to compare Assad and Hitler regarding their use of chemical weapons, according to the report.

He first told reporters that even "someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons" -- clearly forgetting about the millions of people the Nazi dictator gassed in death camps, said the report.

Asked to clarify those remarks a few minutes later by another reporter, Spicer dug himself deeper.

"I think when you come to sarin gas ... (Hitler) was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing," Spicer said. "I mean, there was clearly, I understand your point, thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that."

Spicer then went on to compound the insult, referring to a concentration camp as a "Holocaust centre".

In a statement issued after the briefing, Spicer then failed to acknowledge the atrocities Hitler had committed.

Hours later, Spicer apologised during an appearance on CNN.

Spicer, who said he was "aware" that gas chambers were used during the Holocaust, also said he should have "stayed focused" on Assad and asked people to forgive him for his "mistake".

President Trump remained silent but ordered Spicer to publicly apologise, the report said.

Moments after his initial comments, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum tweeted a video showing footage of US troops liberating the concentration camp in Buchenwald, Germany, in April 1945, which documented the atrocities there.