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Sean Spicer’s Regret Is Not Enough

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Sean Spicer’s Regret Is Not Enough

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Sean Spicer, Press Secretary

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

It started in 1939.

Nazi Germany launched its euthanasia program, using poison gas to kill people whose only crime was to be mentally ill or physically disabled. They were unworthy of life, the Nazis had determined.

After Adolf Hitler’s Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, in June 1941, they started using mobile vans to gas hundreds of thousands of people, most of them Jews, Roma and the mentally ill. The Nazis added the hermetically sealed vans to their arsenal after their rank-and-file murderers whined about the mental and physical toll of shooting so many women and children.

This was just the beginning.

That same year, the Nazis decided to wipe from the face of the earth all Jews — including their Jews, in Germany — by deporting them to killing centers and gassing them. The “Final Solution,” they called it, and Zyklon B was the gas of choice. At the height of the deportations, 6,000 Jews a day were gassed at Auschwitz.

By the end of World War II, the Nazis had killed more than 6 million Jews.

As White House press secretary Sean Spicer illustrated this week, we can never assume that most Americans know this.

On the first day of Passover, Spicer attempted to cast Syria’s Bashar Assad, who recently used sarin gas on his own citizens, as more evil than Hitler. He did this by misrepresenting the Holocaust.

“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” Spicer said during a press briefing. “You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

A reporter asked Spicer later in the briefing to clarify this shocking misrepresentation of Holocaust history.

Spicer’s response: “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing. … He brought them into the Holocaust center; I understand that. But what I’m saying, in the way that Assad used (gas), where he went into towns, dropped (it) down to innocent — into the middle of towns. … So the use of it — I appreciate the clarification there. (Saying Hitler did not use chemical weapons) was not the intent.”

The worldwide outrage is heartening, but my God. How is the White House press secretary even capable of this?

Spicer acknowledged the inexcusable, but only incrementally. First he attempted to walk back his comments in a statement: “In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust, however, I was trying to draw a contrast of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on innocent people.”

Later that day, he told CNN: “I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which, frankly, there is no comparison.”

By Wednesday, he was in full triage mode.

“It really is painful to myself to know that I did something like that,” he told Greta Van Susteren in an interview at the Newseum. “I made a mistake; there’s no other way to say it. I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have, and I screwed up.”

There is no apology to mitigate the harm of Spicer’s comments. This was no slip of the tongue. This was a false narrative about the Holocaust, and when given the chance to rephrase, Spicer doubled down. He has dishonored the millions who died in the Holocaust, survivors and generations of their descendants who still grieve.

Such an alarming disregard for the truth cannot be undone with an admission that one has “screwed up,” no matter how sincere the regret. The press secretary denied the facts of the Holocaust, and he did this as spokesman for the president of the United States.

We are better than this.

We must be.

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, in his memoirs, “Night”:

“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed.

“Never shall I forget that smoke.

“Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky.

“Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.

“Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live.

“Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.

“Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself.

“Never.”

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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Connie Schultz

Connie Schultz is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicated. Schultz won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. She has also published two books: Life Happens: And Other Unavoidable Truths -- a collection of her previously published columns -- and ...and His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man, which chronicled her experiences on the campaign trail with her husband, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

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31 Comments

  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth April 13, 2017

    What Spicer represents, what Trump epitomizes, and the ideals and attitudes the GOP and its affiliate media organs and its loyal electorate exude and reflect, is a systemic decay of a large segment of the American people.

    For decades now, the GOP has been in the forefront of trivializing the sufferings and social challenges of others whom they feel no real affinity for.

    Native American and the Black community are often regarded as groups that just need “to move on and forget past injustices…”, something many callous conservatives have often expressed on the Internet. Spicer and Trump have no affinity for humans other than with those who look and think as they or share similar economic status and social privileges, and any show of remorse for things said to belittle or denigrate are just a temporary recourse to damage-control. After which it’s back to business as usual.

    Spicer is only one of many, particularly in the GOP ranks, who epitomizes this depraved and detached relationship with a variety of different groups of human beings, and as such he and his cohorts and confederates bear little if any resemblance to what we would call noble, enlightened, and spiritually-elevated beings.

    All of the blood shed in the past by Jews, Civil Rights workers murdered, Native Americans killed and forcibly removed from their lands, their resources poisoned and desecrated, the thriving American rape culture—all of this and more means nothing to a callous and cold-hearted Conservative ethos.

    They’ll forever be making the same gauche comments and displaying the same cold clinically detached response to others, unless a major human transformation of the heart and soul occurs in American Society. For now, it’s a certainty that someone within the GOP ranks, and Trump as well, will repeat this egregious, distorted, and decadent form of human behavior.

    Reply
    1. plc97477 April 14, 2017

      The gotp care only for those who can afford to and who give large amounts of money to them. This is shown by the fact that wealthy people who give to liberal causes also are given crap by the gotp.

      Reply
    2. idamag April 14, 2017

      I’m sorry, but when the religious right backed the lying crotch grabber. it show they have no Christian values.

      Reply
  2. Daniel Jones April 13, 2017

    I’m gonna just say it; The Trump Administration is a pack of liars and they regularly spew forth a pack of lies.

    If the Congress lets this happen, they need to be ousted as well.

    Reply
    1. itsfun April 13, 2017

      He didn’t lie about anything, He misspoke himself and immediately clarified what he meant when a reporter asked if he wanted to clarify what he said. He made a mistake, that’s not a lie. A lie is the left accusing President Trump to be in collusion with Russia with absolutely no evidence of any wrong doing. As Obama would say, not a smidgen of evidence.

      Reply
      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth April 13, 2017

        Pathetic. There’s no cure for what ails you, komrade.

        Reply
      2. Ninardejesus April 14, 2017

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        Reply
      3. harleyblueswoman April 14, 2017

        the smidgen is fast turning into a mountain…..you are being conned….

        Reply
        1. itsfun April 14, 2017

          There is absolutely no evidence of any wrong doing by President Trump or his campaign. You are being conned by the left and their fake news. Obama is the one that spied on the Presidential campaign.

          Reply
          1. Bill P April 14, 2017

            Where is your proof of “Obama is the one that spied on the Presidential campaign.” You have made numerous claims on this site without offering provable facts. What does “He misspoke himself” mean? Spicer made numerous errors in the episode – Hitler didn’t gas his own people, Assad is worse than Hitler and the best misspeaking – they were brought to Holocaust Centers! Makes it sound like they went to some nice building to see an exhibit rather than a concentration camp where millions were starved, beaten, tortured and yes gassed.

            Reply
          2. idamag April 14, 2017

            Have you ever know a republican that tells the truth?

            Reply
          3. Bill P April 15, 2017

            Certainly not “itsfun” he tends to write some of the most inaccurate and outright ignorant comments. Usually I ignore him but his statements are about as stupid as Spicer’s comments.

            Reply
          4. harleyblueswoman May 27, 2017

            you are dazed and confused…..u have been conned by the best….Trump himself….King of the con….otherwise known as the art of the deal….

            Reply
      4. Daniel Jones May 12, 2017

        Look, give it up already.

        Sean lied. He corrected himself because he fumbled his lie, correcting himself but **Still Lying**.

        And I said the Administration as a whole lies. They don’t even communicate honestly or openly to their own staff. The Left Hand of the Devil never knows what the Right Wingnuts are doing and vice versa.

        In the wake of Comey getting fired, I say this fits into the chaos that is the Trump Abortion, er, Administration, as Comey was in California when they did it and wound up seeing the report of his own firing on the news!

        Reply
        1. itsfun May 12, 2017

          He didn’t lie. If you had bothered to look up the interview you would see that a reporter immediately asked him if that was what he meant, and he corrected his self and explained what he meant. Almost every politician on the left called for the firing of Comey after he made public the finding of Hillary’s email. Now that the President has fired him, the left is whining about firing him. flip-flop, flip-flop.

          Reply
  3. itsfun April 13, 2017

    Much ado about nothing. I saw the conference. He did say that, but a reporter immediately asked him if he wanted to clarify his remark, and he said yes and he did. He meant Hitler did not gas his own people. That’s all there is to it, what is the big deal.

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth April 13, 2017

      The big deal is that there are so many toadies like yourself who no longer know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. And if it hasn’t been learned by now, people like yourself, Trump, and Spicer will always be fuddy duddies, forever mystified by the rapid changes going on in world society.

      Reply
    2. harleyblueswoman April 14, 2017

      the big deal is Hitler DID gas his own people….just because he found them inferior to himself doesn’t mean they didn’t live in his country….he was wrong in doing it and we cannot tolerate his actions whatsoever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Saying it wasn’t a big deal is what is wrong with this country and people like you think it is fine until they come for you….then who will stand up for you?

      Reply
      1. itsfun April 14, 2017

        Hitler didn’t consider the Jewish people his people. Saying he was wrong in doing is not strong enough. He was a butcher or worse. I said that Spicer misspeaking his self and clarifying what he meant is not and was not a big deal. You completely misunderstood what I was saying.

        Reply
        1. Bill P April 14, 2017

          Yeah sure he “misspoke his self” whatever that means. I know you were among the trolls that claimed President Obama lied when he stated at the end of a tour that he had visited “57” states. According to the right this was a lie not an error in speaking. Many of the people Hitler gassed were German either Jewish, Gypsies or others, Claiming Hitler didn’t consider them his own people is an asinine state at best.

          Reply
        2. johninPCFL April 14, 2017

          So Spicer didn’t consider German Jews members of the German people? That’s the only reasonable interpretation of “he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing”.

          Reply
          1. idamag April 14, 2017

            Hitler considered a lot of people less than human. I blocked itsfun. I find that backcountry bumpkin a$$ scratching funtinally illiterate has nothing to say that would enlighten me or anyone else. If I wanted to listen to an a-hole, I would fart.

            Reply
        3. harleyblueswoman April 16, 2017

          there were 6 million Jews killed and 5 million other non jewish people killed….this IS a big deal…..Spicer works for a idiot and needs to educate himself before he opens his mouth!!

          Reply
          1. itsfun April 16, 2017

            Mr. Spicer wasn’t trying to insult or hurt anyone. You are trying to make something out of nothing. Apparently you have never misspoken about anything. Let it go. You will give yourself a ulcer if you keep worrying about nothing.

            Reply
          2. harleyblueswoman April 30, 2017

            these lives are not so easily dismissed with most sane caring people….

            Reply
          3. itsfun April 30, 2017

            no one is dismissing any lives. Don’t hang on to something that wasn’t meant to hurt anyone.

            Reply
      2. idamag April 14, 2017

        Hitler called the physical and developmentally people, “useless mouths.” Yes, he did gas them. Ignorance is destroying our democracy and people, like itsfun, who are functionally illiterate, are a malignancy to a healthy democracy.

        Reply
  4. ivory69690@yahoo.com April 14, 2017

    like boss like the same moron press sect. the pair that swing from the back of a bull

    Reply
  5. johninPCFL April 14, 2017

    “Such an alarming disregard for the truth cannot be undone with an admission that one has “screwed up,” no matter how sincere the regret”: common for Agent Orange and his troupe. Don’t let facts get in the way of a good lie.

    Reply
  6. idamag April 14, 2017

    I have read all of Elie Wiesel’s bigs. I think they should be required reading in high school. Then, maybe a generation would come up that understood the dangers of what we have now. For that sphincter to make such a stupid statement and then try to smooth it over, he is an insult to everyone of hitler’s victims.

    Reply
  7. itsfun May 27, 2017

    You are one being conned. There is not one bit of evidence of President Trump committing any wrong doing. What are you thoughts of Obama spying on citizens and violating the 4th amendment? Off subject I get a kick out of idamag, calling me names, but the gutless ass blocked me. Would you be kind enough to let the coward know what I think of him. Thank YOu

    Reply

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