Sean Spicer drew the ire of the media and political establishment for making an unwarranted Hitler reference with regard to Syrian President Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons. The New York Times called it a ‘stunner of a gaffe.’
“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” Spicer said during a White House press briefing. “You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
He continued, “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 backpedaled a bit when pressed about what he meant, considering Hitler did use chemical agents to kill Jews and others. “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,” he said.
He could have been referencing the fact that Hitler had sarin gas – as much as 12,000 tons of it – but refused to use it on his enemies. Yes, he employed other chemical weapons, but he refused to use sarin gas, despite his top military officers urging him to use them. The reason he refused remains a mystery to this day.
Whatever the case, the media was not going to give him any benefit of the doubt. They trashed him, and many people called for his resignation.
Then, he did the unthinkable. He apologized, and he didn’t backpedal or try to defend himself or excuse himself in any way. He owned up to it, acknowledging that he ‘screwed up.’
“I made a mistake; there’s no other way to say it,” Spicer said in one of his several interviews where he publicly issued an apology. “I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have, and I screwed up.”
Jeff Dunetz over at The Lid commented that comedian George Carlin got it wrong about the seven words you’re not allowed to say on television. There are two more that should be added: ‘Hitler’ and ‘Nazi.’
I’d add perhaps one condition. You can make ‘Hitler’ and ‘Nazi’ references as long as you’re a Democrat. In that case, no one (in the media anyway) will even notice. If you’re a Republican and you use one of those references like Spicer did, all of a sudden, the media will pretend to be outraged.
Check this clip out from 2013, back when Obama drew a red line in the sand:
Chris Matthews: “The problem is, I don’t like it, first of all I’m rather dovish, I don’t like what I’m going to say but it’s true. If you basically put down a red line and say don’t use chemical weapons, and it’s been enforced in the Western community, around the world — international community for decades. Don’t use chemical weapons. We didn’t use them in World War II, Hitler didn’t use them, we don’t use chemical weapons, that’s no deal. Although we do know that Assad’s father did. Then he goes ahead and does it. It makes you wonder what the mullahs will do if they have a couple of nuclear weapons, just a couple. Are they capable of not using them? That, of course, you know, I think that everybody talking this morning is projecting toward that, which is if you can’t use deterrents the normal way — mutually-assured destruction — if you do this, we’re blowing you up. If that doesn’t work, what does work? And that’s the problem.”
Politifact rated Spicer’s comments as ‘Pants on Fire.’ I wonder what they rated Chris Matthews’ comments. Oh, that’s right. They didn’t fact-check Matthews.