White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer showed up to the Newseum Wednesday morning in a purple tie with his proverbial tail between his legs.
He was there for a pre-planned event on the media. The timing was rough. His appearance came less than 24 hours after he made a horrific gaffe during a White House briefing Tuesday in which he compared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.
He said Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” during World War II, comparing Assad’s use of gas that killed children. He then referred to death camps as “The Holocaust Center.”
“I made a mistake,” he told MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren and the Newseum audience. “There’s no other way to say it. I got into a topic I shouldn’t have and I screwed up. I hope I show that I understand that I did that. I saw people’s forgiveness. I hope each person can understand that part of existing is that when you do something, you own up. And I do.”
Spicer noted that this week is an important one for Jews and Christians. Passover began on Monday. Easter is this Sunday. The famed White House Easter Egg Roll is Monday.
“It’s a very holy week for the Jewish people and the Christian people,” he said. “Of all weeks, this compounds that kind of mistake. It really is painful to myself to know I did something like that. It obviously was not my intention. I would ask obviously for folks’ forgiveness. There is no comparing atrocities. So that is obviously a very difficult thing to deal with personally.”
He offered a public apology of sorts to his boss, President Trump.
“From a professional standpoint, I think the president has had a successful couple of weeks,” he said. “I think he’s had an unbelievably successful couple of weeks. And when you’re distracting from his accomplishment…I think I let the president down. I think it’s not a very good day in my history.”
Asked if he had spoken to Trump, Spicer said he had not. But he was not forthcoming on just who he had spoken with at the White House about the matter.
“This was my mistake, my bad that I needed to fix,” he said. “This was mine to own, mine to apologize for.”
Spicer sounded sensitive to the media’s needs. When given the opportunity to create a “wish list” concerning the media, this is what he said:
“In all honesty, the media’s got a job to do. We’ve got a very robust media. As long as we have a healthy, robust media, I’m fine. I wish people would focus on the policy and get it right, but it is what it is.”
Spicer said he wants a media that focuses on getting it right more than getting it first.
And finally, no, he’s not leaving is job.
In fact, he said, he “truly loves” it.