White House spokesman Sean Spicer has admitted he "screwed up" after controversial remarks he made about Adolf Hitler during Tuesday's press briefing, saying he has let the president down.
Speaking at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning, Spicer admitted his error after saying that Hitler "didn't even sink to using chemical weapons" like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Nazis used gas to exterminate more than 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.
Reporters at the daily briefing immediately realized Spicer's blunder.
When asked to clarify his remarks, he stumbled again by referring to concentration camps as "Holocaust centers."
"It is painful to myself to know I did something like that," Spicer said Wednesday.
"I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have,” he added. “We all make mistakes and I hope I showed that I understand that I did that and I saw people’s forgiveness because I screwed up. I hope that people understand that part of existing is if you do something wrong and you own up to it, you let people know, and I did."
Spicer also acknowledged the awful timing of his comments, which came right in the middle of the Jewish feast of Passover.
“I understand this is a holy week for the Jewish people and the Christian people and to make a gaffe and a mistake like this is inexcusable and reprehensible," he said. "Of all weeks, this compounds that kind of mistake."
The press secretary asked for forgiveness, saying that “there is no comparing atrocities." In addition, he admitted he let the president down.
Following his comments Tuesday, The Anne Frank Center tweeted: “MUST FIRE SEAN SPICER NOW FOR ENGAGING IN HOLOCAUST DENIAL.”
After reporters and social media erupted in response to Spicer’s comments, he immediately issued a statement in an attempt to issue a clarification.
“In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust," Spicer said. "I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers.
"Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable."