Sean Spicer Hitler Gaffe
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"Sean Spicer Hitler Gaffe" refers to a quote from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, in which he suggested that Hitler didn't use chemical weapons on his citizens.
On April 11th, 2017, while addressing concerns over Russia's connection to Syria, Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a factual error in his response to questions regarding the ongoing conflict among the United States, Russia, and Syria, stating that Adolf Hitler didn't use chemical weapons unlike Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"We didn’t use chemical weapons during World War Two," Spicer said. "You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons."
When asked to clarify his statements, Spicer said, "I think when you come to sarin gas, [Hitler] 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. 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."
Asked to clarify further, he 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."
Later that day, Spicer apologized for his comments. "I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas," he said. "Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison. And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that."
News Media Coverage
Within minutes, several major news outlets began covering Spicer's comments, including NBC, CNN, TIME, The Washington Post, and more.
Moments after Spicer made the comments, both Sean Spicer and Holocaust Centers began trending on Twitter. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum tweeted out footage of the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp.
WATCH: Footage from our collection shows what US forces discovered when they liberated #Buchenwald. pic.twitter.com/jySQOWM6Lf— US Holocaust Museum (@HolocaustMuseum) April 11, 2017
Throughout the day, users criticized Spicer on Twitter. Twitter user @Papapishu (shown right) posted a parody of the Guitar Center logo with the words "Holocaust Center," mocking Spicer's phrasing. Another Tweet by @BraddJaffy (shown right)pointed to MSNBC's chyron, which reads, "WHITE HOUSE: HITLER DIDN'T 'SINK TO LEVEL OF USING CHEMICAL WEAPONS' LIKE SYRIAN LEADER (HITLER GASSED MILLIONS)." The tweet received more than 1,400 retweets and 1,200 likes.
Less than an hour the comments went viral, Redditor heeloftar started a thread on the subject in the /r/Politics subreddit. The thread "Spicer: Hitler 'didn't even sink to using chemical weapons'" has received more than 1,300 points (95% upvoted) and 590 comments.
Later that day, Twitter published a Moment, documenting the reaction to Spicer's comments.
Two correspondents' facial reactions during the press briefing became viral sensations. In a video of Spicer answering the infamous follow-up question from ABC News' White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega Goal, The Washington Post's Ashley Parker and American Urban Radio's April Ryan both reacted with surprise and confusion.
Twitter user @ParkerMalloy tweeted a gif (shown below) of both Parker's subtle eyebrow gestures and Ryan's quick head jerk and double take, which received more than 1,700 retweets and 3,300 likes.
AprilDRyan</a> <a href="https://t.co/Mfor5kvXUk">pic.twitter.com/Mfor5kvXUk</a></p>— Parker Molloy (ParkerMolloy) April 11, 2017
Another tweet by user @purpledocket (shown below) featured the gif under the caption "the journey in this gif is unbelievable." The post received more than 26,100 retweets and 67,700 likes.
the journey in this gif is unbelievable pic.twitter.com/lanp2TvruQ— Seb FoxAllen (@purpledocket) April 11, 2017
In an interview about her reaction, Parker told The Washington Post, "I think I was vacillating between confusion and disbelief as Spicer unfurled his answer. Because he had basically been given a pretty fair, easy opportunity to clean up his earlier misstatement, and instead we were all watching in real time as he made it infinitely worse."
Their reactions were covered by several major outlets, including Cosmopolitan, Indy 100, New York Magazine, and more.
 The Associated Press – Spicer suggests even Hitler didn't use chemical weapons"
 NBC News – Spicer Offends with ‘Hitler’ Gassing Remark
 CNN – Spicer: Hitler 'was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing'
 TIME – Sean Spicer: Hitler 'Didn't Even Sink to Using Chemical Weapons'
 Washington Post – Sean Spicer: ‘Someone as despicable as Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons'
 Reddit – Spicer: Hitler 'didn't even sink to using chemical weapons'
 Twitter – @Papapishu's Tweet
 Twitter – @BraddJaffy's Tweet
 CNN – Spicer apologizes for Hitler comparison: 'It was a mistake to do that'
 Twitter – Sean Spicer causes outrage with Hitler-Assad comparison
 Cosmopolitan – These Reporters Reacting to Sean Spicer's Assad-Hitler Comparison Are All of Us
 New York Magazine – The Reaction to Sean Spicer’s Latest Screw Up in Two GIFs
 Twitter – @ParkerMolloy's Tweet
 Twitter – @purpledocket's Tweet
 Indy 100 – White House reporter reactions to Sean Spicer's Hitler comments have become the ultimate meme
 The Washington Post – 5 questions for a Washington Post reporter whose eyebrows became a meme
Apr 11, 2017 at 05:45PM EDT in reply to
Apr 11, 2017 at 08:39PM EDT
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