While defending Donald Trump’s strike in Syria, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Tuesday that not even Adolf Hitler used chemical weapons during the World War II.
“You had a — someone as despicable as Hitler — who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons. So you have to, if you’re Russia, ask yourself is this is a country and a regime that you want to align yourself with?”
When asked for clarification, Spicer said that he meant dropping chemical weapons on unsuspecting towns of Germans.
“When it comes to Sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Ashad [sic] was doing. … He brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that.”
“In the way that Assad used them, where he went to towns, dropped them down to innocents — into the middle of towns — I appreciate the clarification there, that was not the intent.”
After the news conference, Spicer issued yet another statement, this one in writing:
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) April 11, 2017
According to the American Chemical Society, Hitler stockpiled large amounts of Sarin gas during the Second World War, but never used them on a European battlefield.
But it is common knowledge that poison gas was his method of choice for the mass murder of Jews, LGBT people, and others during the Holocaust. More than a million people were killed by the poison gas Zyklon B — a derivative of cyanide — at the Auschwitz camp alone.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that Hitler’s overall death toll includes as many as 6 million Jews, over 7 million non-Jewish Soviet citizens, nearly 2 million non-Jewish Polish civilians, people with disabilities, Gypsies, and an undetermined number of political prisoners and LGBT people.
— Jonathan Reiner ? (@JReinerMD) April 11, 2017
Some people on Twitter noted the significance of the date:
Happy Passover! https://t.co/xMwSSnzs0F
— Josh Scherr, probably (@joshscherr) April 11, 2017