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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is under fire for saying Hitler didn't use chemical weapons

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared to forget about the Holocaust when comparing Hitler with Syrian President Bashar Assad during a cringe-worthy televised briefing with reporters on Tuesday.

“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons," Spicer said, in an attempt to argue that Russia and other countries that are not standing up to Assad are on the wrong side of history.

Spicer's rendering ignored the horror of the Holocaust, where gas chambers were used as part of a genocide campaign that killed 6 million Jews as well as millions of others including Gypsies and gay people.

You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.

Sean Spicer

Many expressed shock on Twitter as Spicer went on to field other questions. Spicer was given a chance to recover in a follow-up question, but instead evoked more gasps.

“He was not using gas on his own people the same way,” Spicer said. He referred to the Syria bomb victims as "innocent."

He then added awkwardly that he was aware of "Holocaust centers" and that he meant that Hitler did not use gas in the middle of towns.

The suggestion that Holocaust victims were not Hilter's "own people" — intended or not — hit a sore nerve for Jews and other victims who considered themselves loyal subjects of Germany.

There is also a painful and long history of Holocaust deniers who claim, among other things, that gas chambers were not used to kill Jews.

Spicer's comments came during Passover, in which Jews celebrate freedom from oppression.

After the press briefing ended, Spicer released another clarification in written form:

"In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust," he said. "I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable."

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