CLEVELAND, Ohio — If teachers are spotted at The White House, they’re not there to tutor Barron Trump. They are there to home school Sean Spicer on the history of the Holocaust and teach him to correctly pronounce Bashar al-Assad.
The White Press Secretary has embarked on apology tour for saying, during Passover week, that even Hitler “didn’t sink to using chemical weapons” against his own people, like Assad has done. And for calling Nazi concentration camps “Holocaust Centers,” while attempting to clarify his remarks.
Spicer has compounded his tone deaf comments by mispronouncing Bashar al-Assad’s name on several occasions. At different times, Spicer has referred to the Syrian dictator as “Bashad al-Assar” and “Ashad.”
In one attempt to walk back his remarks, Spicer misspoke again, saying that he didn’t want to distract from the attempts President Trump is “making to destabilize the region and root out ISIS out of Syria.”
Over the past several days, Spicer has profusely apologized for his Hitler comparisons, in a series of interviews and email exchanges. Here a some of his mea culpas.
“I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which, frankly, there is no comparison. And for that, I apologize.”
“There’s no comparing atrocities and it is a very solemn time for so many folks that’s part of that, so that’s obviously a very difficult thing personally to deal with, because you know a lot of people that don’t know you wonder why you would do that.”
“It’s a very holy week for the Jewish people and the Christian people and to make a gaffe and a mistake like this is inexcusable and reprehensible and so, of all weeks, this compounds that kind of mistake.”
“I think I’ve let the president down and so on both a personal level and a professional level that will definitely go down as not a very good day in my history.”
Spicer didn’t just forget that Hitler killed six million Jews, most often by gassing them, he forgot that many of those gassed were also Germans, as well as being Jewish.
This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has callously failed to acknowledge Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The official White House statement commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day, made no mention of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the antisemitism that fueled it.
Spicer’s Hitler comments, and the Remembrance Day letters omissions, would be stunning coming from any U.S. president’s administration. But it’s especially stunning coming from the office of a president whose son-in-law, daughter and grandchildren are Jewish.
By normal standards for professionalism and the duties of a president’s press secretary, Sean Spicer has repeatedly demonstrated he is not fit for the job he holds.
But MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell has made a compelling case for why Spicer shouldn’t be fired. On his show “The Last Word” O’Donnell argued that a polished and articulate press secretary would give a false impression of the real Trump presidency. He argued, correctly, that Spicer more accurately reflects the true nature of the Trump presidency every time he opens his mouth. So Spicer really has been doing his job.