This Day in Trump, Day 82: White House Plays Hardball With Russia, Spicer Makes Holocaust Gaffe

WASHINGTON -- The rapid deterioration of relations between the U.S. and Russia continued Tuesday in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision last week to launch missiles at Syria after a chemical weapons attack there.Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sean Spicer faced his most ignominious gaffe since assuming the post, as he not once but twice falsely suggested that Adolf Hitler did not gas German citizens during World War II.Highlight of the dayThe White House accused the Russian government of attempting to cover up the chemical weapons attack last week by Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. A declassified four-page report emerged as Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would appeal to the United Nations to investigate the chemical attack in Syria, continuing to insist that he had received intelligence showing the attack was part of planned “provocations” to put the blame on the Syrian government.Just as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Russia for a visit, the Kremlin said that U.S.-Russia relations are now “in their worst period since the end of the Cold War.”Um, what?In his daily press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer appeared to suggest that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is worse than Nazi Fuhrer Adolf Hitler because even Hitler, as despicable as he was, did not go so low as to use chemical weapons.“You had someone who is despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said.Given an opportunity a few minutes later to clarify the remarks, Spicer said Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing” when he brought Jews into “the Holocaust center.”Fact checkThe Nazis, under direction from Hitler, killed millions of Jews and other targeted groups by pumping hydrogen cyanide gas into chambers. Hitler did use chemical weapons such as Zyklon B “on his own people,” as many of the Jews he was attempting to exterminate were German citizens.“In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust,” Spicer said in a statement after the briefing. "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."Politifact gave the statement a “Pants on Fire” rating on the Truth-o-Meter.Later in the day, Spicer apologized for the comments on CNN, saying he “mistakenly used an inappropriate, insensitive reference to the Holocaust.”“It was my blunder,” Spicer said, insisting that he was aware about Hitler’s use of chemical weapons. “I apologize.”But Spicer maintained that he does not have a credibility problem in his role as press secretary, saying that “we all make mistakes” and he wanted to put an end to the drama.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on Trump to fire Spicer and disavow his statements.“Either he is speaking for the President, or the President should have known better than to hire him,” Pelosi said in a written statement.Spicer’s statement’s led to some funny reactions in the briefing room, as reporters couldn’t help but show their bemusement at the comparison:  Continue reading...

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