White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that his comments during a Tuesday press briefing were "inexcusable and reprehensible," during an appearance with MSNBC's Greta Van Susteren carried on MSNBC and CNN.
"I got into a topic that I shouldn't have, and I screwed up. I hope people understand that we all make mistakes. I hope I show that I understand that I did that, and that I sought people's forgiveness because I screwed up. And I hope that each person can understand that part of existing is understanding that when you do something wrong you own up to it."
Spicer noted the timing of his comments as being during Passover week, a holy time for the Christian and Jewish faith. "To make a gaffe and a mistake like this is inexcusable and reprehensible. So, of all weeks, this compounds that kind of mistake."
"There's no comparing atrocities," he said.
The press secretary said that his comment took attention away from President Donald Trump having an "unbelievable, successful" couple of weeks. "Your job as the spokesperson is to help amplify the president's actions and accomplishment… on a professional level, it's disappointing, because I think I have let the president down."
"This was mine, mine to own, mine to apologize for, and mine to ask forgiveness for," he said.
During a Tuesday press briefing, Spicer drew a comparison between Hitler and Syria's using chemical weapons in an attack that killed 85. "You had someone who was as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons."
Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons on the battlefield during World War II, but the Nazis killed at least 1.5 million people using gas chambers.
"Any comparison of current situations with Nazi crimes is nothing good," said Steffen Seibert, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman.
Backlash erupted on social media after Spicer's comments. Salon collected criticism from Twitter users.
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