WASHINGTON — President Trump's spokesman backtracked Tuesday on comments likening Bashar Assad to Holocaust architect Adolf Hitler.
"We didn't use chemical weapons in World War II. You had a — someone who is as despicable as Hitler who didn't even use chemical weapons," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. "You have to, if you're Russia, ask yourself, is this a country and regime you want to align yourself with?"
Later asked to explain, Spicer said he meant to say that Hitler had not used chemical weapons in battlefield situations as Assad did last week.
"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, there was not in the — he brought them into the Holocaust center," he said. "But I'm saying that in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down into innocent — into the middle of towns."
Spicer clarified a second time in a statement: "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.
Millions of people died during the Holocaust, with gas chambers being one of the primary ways of killing the victims.
Shortly after Spicer's comments, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum sent out footage of the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp.