Tuesday was an, unfortunately, embarrassing day for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, after he made a self-admitted “blunder” while trying to compare Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler. Spicer claimed that not even Hitler used chemical weapons on his own people, even though he did during the Holocaust. In response, all three of the liberal Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) lead their evening programming with the gaffe. But CBS got bizarrely personal by mocking him directly and even questioning his intelligence.
“Another blunder from the podium,” announced Anchor Scott Pelley during the CBS Evening News opening tease, “White House errors of historic proportions.”
After the tease, Pelley kicked the show off by gleefully mocking Spicer’s misfortune and touting the hassle he was creating for President Trump. “The job of the White House press secretary is to articulate the positions of the president and to clean up the occasional presidential mess,” he joked, “They are not supposed to create any messes for the president. But it happened again today…”
Pelley went on to scold Spicer, stating: “The Holocaust, apparently, was not on Spicer’s mind today, and to make matters worse, this is the Jewish holiday ‘Passover.’”
That chide was soon followed up by reporter Nancy Cordes who got in her own shot at Spicer with: “It isn't often that Hitler is compared favorably to anyone, but it happened today when the White House press secretary was condemning Syria's Bashar Assad for gassing his own people.”
She then seemed to question’s Spicer’s intelligence or maybe his education. “It was a startling comment from someone who surely learned in high school that Hitler sent millions to the gas chambers,” she remarked. She then gave credence to the salacious claims that the Press Secretary was a Holocaust denier. “The executive director of the Anne Frank Center accusing Spicer of ‘Holocaust denial’ and calling on President Trump to ‘fire him at once,’” she reported.
Reading from a statement from Spicer, Cordes said that he was trying to describe Assad’s tactic of dropping bombs filled with gas into population centers. But Cordes sounded skeptical of Spicer’s reasoning. And yet, she explained that “Defense secretary James Mattis underscored that point at the Pentagon.”
Cordes also buried Spicer’s apology at the very end of her report, and only noted that “This evening, Spicer fell on his sword and apologized, saying his comment was ‘inappropriate and insensitive.’”
On ABC, Correspondent Cecilia Vega stuck to describing Spicer’s blunder as just a simple “gaffe,” while NBC’s Kristen Welker called it a “messaging misstep.” ABC didn’t touch any of the radical accusations against him and re-aired some of Spicer’s heartfelt apology to CNN.
Welker included numerous outrageous anti-Spicer tweets and other calls for him to be fired. She also ran an interview with the Anne Frank Center’s executive director, but she didn’t include the center’s ‘Holocaust denier’ smear. But they also included a clip of Spicer apologizing in an interview with NBC’s Peter Alexander.
CBS and Pelley, in particular, has been getting an exorbitant amount of praise for sticking to the young Trump administration. This report was definitely an escalation in their efforts to hammer away at the presidency that they openly oppose.
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CBS Evening News
April 11, 2017
6:30:21 PM Eastern [Tease]
SCOTT PELLEY: Another blunder from the podium.
SEAN SPICER: Someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn't even sink to the-- to using chemical weapons.
PELLEY: Then it got worse.
SPICER: He was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.
PELLEY: White House errors of historic proportions.
6:31:24 PM Eastern
PELLEY: The job of the White House press secretary is to articulate the positions of the president and to clean up the occasional presidential mess. They are not supposed to create any messes for the president. But it happened again today when Sean Spicer made one colossal error. He was comparing Syria's dictator to Hitler, and suggested that Hitler did not use poison gas on his own people. The holocaust, apparently, was not on Spicer’s mind today, and to make matters worse, this is the Jewish holiday “Passover.” Here's Nancy Cordes.
[Cuts to video]
SPICER: We didn't use chemical weapons in World War II.
NANCY CORDES: It isn't often that Hitler is compared favorably to anyone, but it happened today when the White House press secretary was condemning Syria's Bashar Assad for gassing his own people.
SPICER: You had a, you know, someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn't even sink to the-- to using chemical weapons.
CORDES: It was a startling comment from someone who surely learned in high school that Hitler sent millions to the gas chambers. Spicer's clarification only led to more confusion.
SPICER: I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no-- he was not using the gas on his own people same way that Assad is doing. I mean, there was clearly I understand-- thank you. I appreciate that. There was not-- he brought them into-- um-- to the holocaust center.
CORDES: By "Holocaust centers" he apparently meant concentration camps. The executive director of the Anne Frank Center accusing Spicer of “Holocaust denial” and calling on President Trump to “fire him at once.” In a statement, Spicer insisted "In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust. I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers." Defense secretary James Mattis underscored that point at the Pentagon.
JAMES MATTIS: Even in World War II, chemical weapons were not used to battlefields. Even in the Korean War they were not used to battlefields. Since World War I, there's been an international convention on this.
[Cuts back to live]
CORDES: This evening, Spicer fell on his sword and apologized, saying his comment was “inappropriate and insensitive.” A swift mea culpa, Scott for a White House that typically shies away from admitting mistakes.
PELLEY: Nancy Cordes in Washington.