'It was a mistake to do that,' the press secretary said

By Oliver Gettell
April 11, 2017 at 07:24 PM EDT

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has apologized for attempting to denounce Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his use of chemical weapons by stating that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

Spicer’s initial comments, made during a press briefing Tuesday, sparked immediate and widespread criticism, with many people noting Hitler’s use of gas chambers to kill millions of Jews. After several attempts to clarify his remarks, Spicer offered a mea culpa in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“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,” the press secretary said. “Frankly, I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which frankly there is no comparison. And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”

Asked whom he was apologizing to, Spicer referred to “anybody who not just suffered in the Holocaust or is a descendent of anybody, but frankly, anyone who was offended by those comments.”

Spicer also said he was aware that gas chambers were used during the Holocaust to slaughter Jews, Gypsies, gays, and others, and he reiterated that he should have kept his comments focused on Assad.

Watch clips of Spicer’s interview above.