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I made a mistake': Spicer apologizes for Hitler comments

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during "The President and the Press: The First Amendment in the First 100 Days" forum at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Wedbesday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday during an interview with MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren that his controversial remarks about Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust were a “mistake.”

During a press briefing Tuesday, Spicer addressed Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on his own people, arguing that during World War II “you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons.”

Asked to clarify his remarks, Spicer said Hitler used chemical weapons in “the Holocaust center,” but “I’m saying in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down to innocent — into the middle of towns. It was brought — so the use of it — I appreciate the clarification there. That was not the intent.”

A media firestorm ensued, with many noting that the Nazis used poisonous gas during the Holocaust.

Spicer offered an apology Tuesday, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he was “trying to make a point about the heinous acts” committed by Assad and he “mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive comment about the Holocaust, and there is no comparison.”

The embattled press secretary then offered another apology Wednesday during remarks with Van Susteren at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., at an event titled “The President and the Press: The First Amendment in the First 100 Days,” saying, “I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have, and I screwed up.”

“I hope people understand that we all make mistakes,” he said, adding:

I hope I showed that I understand that I did that and that I sought people's forgiveness because I screwed up. I hope each person can understand that part of existing is understanding that when you do something wrong if you own up to it, you do it — you let people know. And I did.

Spicer said he is especially sorry that the comments happened during what is “a very holy week” for both Jews and Christians and that there is no comparing atrocities.

He said that the mistake and its aftermath have been “painful” for him on both personal and professional levels, saying that he “let the president down” in the midst of what was a “successful couple weeks” for him.

“It will go down as not a very good day in my history,” Spicer said.

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