The White House press secretary has drawn fierce criticism and calls for his dismissal after suggesting Adolf Hitler, who gassed millions of Jews in the Holocaust, did not use chemical weapons.
During his daily press briefing at the White House, Mr Spicer directly compared the leader of the Nazi Party with Mr Assad: “We didn’t use chemical weapons in world war two. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Clarifying his remarks immediately afterwards, he 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.”
Parallels have been drawn between the comments made by Mr Spicer on Tuesday and those expressed on Fox Business on Monday. Appearing in an interview with veteran host Neil Cavuto, Kassam Eid, a Syrian man who survived a 2013 chemical weapons attack believed to have been carried out by Mr Assad, argued the Syrian President was worse than Hitler.
“Assad killed 500,000 people, for the love of God,” he said. “He displaced half of the country, he destroyed the country. He gassed women and children… He’s worse than Hitler.”
While the interview did not go viral, it was spotted by a number of conservative outlets including the Fox News Business' website and Newsmax whose founder is a long-time friend of President Donald Trump and an early donor to his presidential campaign.
CNN host Brian Shelter floated the idea that Mr Spicer’s comments had come from the Fox Business Network interview on Twitter.
It is of course possible that Mr Spicer did not see the Fox Business Network interview. Although President Trump did record his first interview since entering the White House with the channel on Tuesday so Mr Spicer may have been more likely to be paying attention to the network.
This is by no means the first time Fox, a network which has been criticised for its overly favourable coverage of Mr Trump, has been associated with the Trump administration. The president himself has frequently appeared to send tweets in response to cable TV coverage, especially Fox, and sometimes has done so within minutes of it hitting the airwaves.
For example, last month, Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade said Russia "ran right over" Obama for eight years. Ten minutes later, Mr Trump tweeted: “For eight years Russia ‘ran over’ President Obama, got stronger and stronger, picked-off Crimea and added missiles. Weak! @foxandfriends”.
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
1/9 Trump and the media
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily press briefing
2/9 Trump and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Union leaders applaud US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington DC. Mr Trump issued a presidential memorandum in January announcing that the US would withdraw from the trade deal
3/9 Trump and the Mexico wall
A US Border Patrol vehicle sits waiting for illegal immigrants at a fence opening near the US-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas. The number of incoming immigrants has surged ahead of the upcoming Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who has pledged to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. A signature campaign promise, Mr Trump outlined his intention to build a border wall on the US-Mexico border days after taking office
4/9 Trump and abortion
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office of the White House. Mr Trump reinstated a ban on American financial aide being granted to non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling, provide abortion referrals, or advocate for abortion access outside of the United States
5/9 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
Opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines hold a rally as they protest US President Donald Trump's executive orders advancing their construction, at Columbus Circle in New York. US President Donald Trump signed executive orders reviving the construction of two controversial oil pipelines, but said the projects would be subject to renegotiation
6/9 Trump and 'Obamacare'
Nancy Pelosi who is the minority leader of the House of Representatives speaks beside House Democrats at an event to protect the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California. US President Donald Trump's effort to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace the healthcare law failed when Republicans failed to get enough votes. Mr Trump has promised to revisit the matter
7/9 Donald Trump and 'sanctuary cities'
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January threatening to pull funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" if they do not comply with federal immigration law
8/9 Trump and the travel ban
US President Donald Trump has attempted twice to restrict travel into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries. The first attempt, in February, was met with swift opposition from protesters who flocked to airports around the country. That travel ban was later blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The second ban was blocked by a federal judge a day before it was scheduled to be implemented in mid-March
SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images
9/9 Trump and climate change
US President Donald Trump sought to dismantle several of his predecessor's actions on climate change in March. His order instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan, which would cap power plant emissions
Mr Spicer issued an apology for his remarks about Hitler and Assad on CNN shortly after the initial comments.
He told the network: "I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas.
"Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison. For that I apologise. It was a mistake to do that."Reuse content