The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is demanding that President Donald Trump immediately fire his White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, after Spicer compared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler, suggesting that even Hitler didn’t “sink to using chemical weapons.”
Spicer made the controversial comments during his Tuesday press briefing, where he condemned the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack last week that killed more than 80 civilians. The remarks come amid the Jewish holiday of Passover.
“We didn’t even use chemical weapons in World War II,” Spicer said. “You had a — you know someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
The Anne Frank Center quickly issued a statement on Twitter calling for Spicer’s firing.
“@POTUS @realDonaldTrump MUST FIRE SEAN SPICER NOW FOR ENGAGING IN HOLOCAUST DENIAL. OUR STATEMENT BELOW. #Antisemitism #NeverAgain,” the center tweeted.
Others on Twitter followed the Anne Frank Center’s lead, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who released a statement telling the president, “It’s time to fire @PressSec Sean Spicer.”
And many more critics took to Twitter to mock Spicer:
Asked later to clarify his comments on Hitler, a seemingly flustered Spicer told ABC News’ Cecila Vega, “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
“He brought them into the Holocaust Center,” added Spicer, in an apparent reference to Nazi concentration camps.
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“But I’m saying that in the way that Assad used them where he went in towns, dropped them down — into the middle of towns — it was brought — so the use of it — I appreciate the clarification,” Spicer said. “That was not the intent.”
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In a second clarification shared by NBC News White House correspondent Hallie Jackson, Spicer said, “In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust. However, I was trying to draw a contrast of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on innocent people.”
This is not the first time Trump or members of his administration have become embroiled in controversies involving anti-Semitism.
Just this week, Trump was criticized for skipping the annual White House Passover Seder on Monday night. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, both of whom are Jewish, also skipped the dinner.
President Trump also came under fire in January, when he failed to mention Jews in a statement commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
He was accused of anti-Semitism during his presidential campaign as well, especially after he shared an ad featuring rival Hillary Clinton atop a bed of money, with a six-sided star declaring her the “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!”
Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, defended his father-in-law in an essay at the time, insisting that “Donald Trump is not anti-Semitic and he’s not a racist.”