It seems that Spicer got caught being human and saying something that, while inartfully spoken in an epic way, doesn’t come anywhere near being spew of evil that his detractors will spend the next week making it out to be. Let’s roll the clip:
Someone as despicable as Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons. You have to ask yourself if you are Russia, is this a country and a regime you want to align yourself with?
Yeah, I know. Major face palm. Then, like a man caught in flagrante delicto with the boss’s wife, he made things worse by attempting to say the equivalent of, “This really isn’t what it looks like.”
He was not using his gas on his own people the same way Assad was.
Which naturally led to responses like this on Twitter:
Even Chelsea Clinton (or whichever unpaid intern runs her Twitter account this week) got in on the action:
So in the blink of an eye, we’ve gone from a foot-in-mouth moment to Spicer being a Holocaust denier in bad need of a history lesson. Even the United Airlines PR guy is probably shaking his head right now and saying, “Sucks to be that guy.”
I realize that stupid travels at the speed of light across the World Wide Web, but this has quickly reached a level of mendaciousness that is astonishing even for the mainstream media. Everybody knows that Spicer was in no way trying to go easy on Adolph Hitler, or deny that he used chemical weapons to gas people to death in concentration camps. What he meant to say was that even Hitler– unlike Bashar al-Assad–never deployed chemical weapons against civilian or military targets in the course of combat. He was only trying to portray Assad as a really, really bad dude–not diss the millions of souls who perished during the Holocaust.
Spicer just did it badly. And I do mean badly.
There’s no excuse for that, given that he’s a communications professional–and it does provide further proof that maybe doing Nazi comparisons during a press conference isn’t such a great idea. Still, messing up and saying something sloppy is a far cry from actual malice, which his critics also know damn well. Of course, that won’t stop them from kicking Spicer when he’s down (I can only imagine what SNL is going to do with this)–but I would defy anyone to speak to the press day after day, week after week, without screwing the pooch on occasion.
So have a drink on me, Sean. You’ve earned it.