Opinion: Spicer’s misled comments render him unfit for position

Christine DiSabato

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer took a hit Tuesday after saying in a press briefing that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even use chemical weapons” against his own people, comparing him to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

Assad is being investigated for employing sarin gas against Syrian civilians last week, killing dozens of men, women and children and injuring more.

In response to a question from a White House reporter regarding Russia’s longtime alliance with Syria, Spicer said, “We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II … you had a, you know, someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to the, to the, to using chemical weapons … ”

This statement is ignorant, offensive and outrageous. Spicer has yet again shown an unsettling lack of not only integrity, but knowledge one would expect a key player in a presidential administration, or anyone who has graduated high school, to have. And the delivery of this statement in his now-familiar style, reminiscent of a schoolboy who did not expect to be called on in class, only further illustrates the fact that Spicer is unfit to serve as spokesman for the White House.

After the initial reactions to his statement swiftly erupted both online and in the press, Spicer went on to attempt to explain his remarks in not one, not two, but three separate clarifications. In each of them, he only further mishandled the incident.

In one, he referred to concentration camps as “holocaust centers” and said Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people in the same way that Assad is doing.”

He managed to completely ignore the use of Zyklon B and similar chemical agents used to kill mass numbers of Jews in concentration camps, but then he went on to insinuate that German Jews were not Hitler’s people in the way Syrians are Assad’s.

Even after his many clarifications, celebrities, journalists and even entire organizations and institutions called him out. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum took the opportunity to remind people of the horrors of the Holocaust and the lasting effects it had on the world. The Anne Frank Center called for President Donald Trump to fire Spicer at once.

Spicer’s remarks were offensive and should be a career-killer for any spokesperson, let alone the White House press secretary. There is no way for him to spin this enough to turn it around and save himself.

If Trump wants to retain any semblance of his administration’s competence and credibility, he should fire Spicer. The man has demonstrated over the past three months that he is prone to outbursts and embarrassing gaffes in the press room, and Tuesday’s events proved yet again that he is a liability to the President and the administration as a whole.

Spicer’s remarks were disgraceful and embarrassing to the president and to America. He is the spokesperson for the leader of the free world, and he should be held to a standard of decency.

At the very least, we should expect him to know basic history. However, he sure is supplying Saturday Night Live with plenty of material, so I suppose there is a silver lining to everything.

Christine DiSabato is the director of alumni relations for the College Democrats, contact her at [email protected]