U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky, of Evanston, released a statement after White House press secretary Sean Spicer erroneously said Adolf Hitler had not used chemical weapons calling the comment "revisionist history."
“On the first day of Passover, Sean Spicer used the White House Press Briefing Room as a stage from which to downplay Adolf Hitler’s crimes against humanity. Sean Spicer claimed today that Hitler 'didn’t use gas against his own people,'" the statement reads. "Millions of European citizens, mostly Jews, including Germans, were killed in gas chambers during the Holocaust. I am absolutely outraged at this revisionist history."
Spicer made the comment at Tuesday's daily press briefing when asked about Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons in a bombing of their people. Spicer was arguing that Syrian President Bashar Assad was in some way worse than Hitler, whom he described as "despicable."
“From having white nationalists in high-ranking offices to failing to mention Jews in a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day and waiting weeks to denounce anti-Semitic hate crimes around the country, this is only the latest in a string of anti-Semitic actions from President Trump’s White House,” Schakowsky said. “It is clear that this administration needs a history lesson and a staff shake-up.”
The congresswoman also said Spicer’s “hostility towards members of the White House Press Corps” and his Holocaust comment suggest he is incapable of being the president’s spokesman.
After several attempts to clarify his remark, Spicer later apologized, calling his remark "insensitive" and a "mistake" in an NBC News interview.
"It was a distinction that didn’t need to get made. They’ve both done horrendous, heinous things to innocent people," he said, referring to Hitler and Assad. "To make any kind of comparison is really regrettable and a mistake."
Hitler used chemical weapons in systematically killing millions of people as part of the Holocaust and his "Final Solution" of ethnic cleansing. While Hitler killed himself before the end of World War II, some Nazi leaders were convicted of war crimes in its aftermath for their part in the murders.
An April 4 chemical weapons attack in northern Syria left nearly 90 people dead, and the U.S. has blamed Assad and condemned the attack, responding with a barrage of cruise missiles on a Syrian military base. Turkey's health minister said Tuesday that test results confirm sarin gas was used.