The White House Press Secretary appeared to inadvertently admit in his U-turn that Donald Trump was attempting to “destabilise” the Syrian region.
He had been trying to shift the focus away from having seemingly forgotten millions of Jews were gassed during the Holocaust.
“I came out to make sure we stay focused on what the president is doing and his decisive action,” Spicer said at a press briefing on Monday.
But he added:
“I needed to make sure that I clarified, and was not in any shape or form any more of a distraction from the president’s decisive action in Syria and the attempts that he is making to destabilise the region and root out ISIS out of Syria.”
Astonishingly, Spicer repeated the claim the following day, insisting that Trump’s missile strike on a Syrian airbase was an attempt to “destabilise” the troubled country.
He said in a CNN interview:
“The goal for both of them ― the goal for the US is twofold, as I’ve stated. It’s, one, to make sure that we destabilise Syria ― destabilise the conflict there, reduce the threat of Isis.””
Here’s the clip:
Spicer’s double-down left some people asking whether he knew what the word “destabilise” actually meant.
Spicer is already facing calls to resign over his original Hitler gaffe.
He had sought to justify US military intervention in Syria, which came in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 70 people. The Pentagon claims Bahar al-Assad, the troubled country’s leader, was behind it.
Spicer said: “I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
A journalist in the room pointed out the widely-known fact that German Jews were targeted during the Holocaust.
Spicer stuttered: “Thank you, I appreciate that. There was not in the – he brought them into the Holocaust centres – I understand that.
“But I’m saying in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down into the middle of towns.”
After the press conference Spicer issued a statement to reporters:
“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 centres. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable.”