Washington D.C. (U.S.) Apr. 12 (ANI): White House press secretary Sean Spicer set off an intense backlash on Tuesday when he suggested that Syria President Bashar al-Assad was worse than Hitler and said incorrectly that Hitler had not used chemical weapons during World War II or against his own people.
Spicer was attempting to lend gravity to the actions of Assad, who United States officials believe used sarin gas, a lethal chemical weapon, in an attack on a rebel-held area of Idlib Province last week that killed dozens, the New York Times reported.
Asked to clarify his remarks, Spicer acknowledged that Hitler used chemical agents, but maintained that there was a difference.
"We didn't use chemical weapons in World War II. You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," Spicer said.
"So you have to, if you are Russia, ask yourself: Is this a country and a regime that you want to align yourself with?" he added.
The White House charged that Russia has sought to cover up the attack.
"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 said and mentioned "Holocaust centers," apparently referring to Nazi death camps.
His remarks immediately elicited outrage on social media, even as he continued his daily briefing of the news media.
Later, he tried to clarify his comments, saying in a statement that he did not intend to be dismissive of the Holocaust.
"In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust," he said.
"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," he added. (ANI)