While many on the left slammed White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s recent misstatement regarding the Nazi regime’s use of poison gas during World War II as a form of Holocaust denial and called for his ouster, senior US jurist Alan Dershowitz warned Democrats not to politicize what he described as an honest mistake.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Spicer addressed the last week’s strikes against the Assad regime in Syria and American policy towards Syria and the Russian government following the use of sarin gas in a chemical weapon attack on Idlib last week.
At one point, Spicer asserted that the use of chemical weapons was unprecedented, claiming that even the Nazi regime did not employ unconventional weapons during the Holocaust.
"We didn't use chemical weapons in WWII. We had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," Spicer declared.
Spicer’s comments, which ignored the Nazi regime’s horrific use of poison cyanide-based Zyklon B gas at concentration camps to murder millions of Jews throughout the war, sparked an immediate uproar.
On Wednesday Spicer offered an apology for his “inappropriate and insensitive” comments.
“I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust for which, frankly, there is no comparison. For that I apologize, it was a mistake to do that,” Spicer told CNN.
Congressional Democrats and the Democratic National Committee demanded Spicer’s ouster, accusing him of “downplaying the horror of the Holocaust.”
"Sean Spicer must be fired, and the president must immediately disavow his spokesman's statements. Either he is speaking for the president, or the president should have known better than to hire him," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
But Dershowitz, himself a Democrat, pushed back on the politicization of Spicer’s gaffe, and accused the Democratic Party of hypocrisy.
Spicer, Dershowitz told CNN anchor Don Lemon, simply misspoke, and had no intention of diminishing the horror of the Holocaust.
“What happened here is the guy [Spicer] screwed up. He apologized, and he apologized from his heart. And I’m prepared to give him a pass on this.”
Dershowitz then went on to accuse the DNC of opportunism in attempting to exploit the faux pas, and hypocrisy by ignoring its own co-chairman’s ties to the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam.
“I’ll tell you who I am not prepared to give a pass on: the Democratic National Committee that has immediately decided to politicize this and send out immediate tweets saying, ‘We can’t tolerate anti-Semitism or even a whiff of anti-Semitism.’ This is the Democratic National Committee, who has as its co-chairman Keith Ellison, who didn’t recognize the fact that he was working for an anti-Semite, Farrakhan. This is just hypocrisy, and I think we should not make politics out of this.”