When you spend your work life in front of a podium giving speeches to a worried public and answers to a fervent media, making mistakes is par for the course. However, press secretary Sean Spicer makes an awful lot of them, and when the world's watching, these are not small mix-ups.
On Tuesday and just in time for Passover, Spicer erroneously claimed in a press briefing that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons when criticizing Syrian President Bashar Assad's use of sarin on his own people.
"You had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," Spicer said.
A journalist at the briefing, among many others, pointed out that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, homosexual men and women, and disabled individuals by gas chamber during the Holocaust. Spicer attempted to walk back his statement, but he ended up tripping and falling flat on his metaphorical face.
"I understand your point. Thank you. I appreciate that. He brought them into the Holocaust centers, I understand that. I was saying in the way that Assad used them where he went into town, dropped them into the middle of town. I appreciate the clarification. That was not the intent.”
By "Holocaust centers," Spicer certainly meant the concentration camps that Hitler and the Nazis used to commit genocide. It's unclear though why he didn't just say that (and, to consider all possibilities, he may have no clue either). This new gaffe drew the ire and dark humor of thousands across Twitter.
Some people were in disbelief.
The reporter behind the questioner's faces during Sean Spicer's "Holocaust Centers" comments though.pic.twitter.com/x2OuUICY66— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) April 11, 2017
Others found humor in the situation.
Will Mexico pay for the Holocaust Centers?— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) April 11, 2017
Sean Spicer would show up to the gallows & be like "does anyone know when the neck hugging ceremony starts?"— Aparna Nancherla (@aparnapkin) April 11, 2017
There were those who imagined some recent headliners would be relieved the heat was off them.
PEPSI: we're the worst— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) April 11, 2017
UNITED: no, we're the worst
SEAN SPICER: hold my beer
And a few dark souls just let the sarcasm drip.
Wow Spicer's lucky there's not some Jewish holiday about the liberation from the forces of death on right now.— Scott Wells (@bitb) April 11, 2017
I mean say what you want about Hitler. He killed 6 million people without the use of nerve agents, except that whole gas chamber thing...— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) April 11, 2017
Look, the Press Secretary may have just called concentration camps "holocaust centers," but at least he didn't do it during Passover.— Myke Cole (@MykeCole) April 11, 2017
All twisted jokes aside, for a man who is supposed to represent the president (which, admittedly, is a rough job to have in this administration), Spicer does an amazing job of raising hackles and stepping on toes. His knack for gaffes makes for some inspired Twitter responses but does nothing to assure people that those in charge are reliable or know basic history.