A day of White House messaging, thrown off by an encounter with the press. Only this time it wasn’t one of President Donald Trump’s off the cuff riffs or tweets doing damage.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer apologized today after first claiming, as part of a justification for the administration’s missile strike in Syria, that Nazi leader Adolph Hitler did not use chemical weapons on his own people. Spicer also drew fire for seemingly minimizing the Holocaust.
“I mistakenly used an inappropriate, insensitive reference to the Holocaust," Spicer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday evening. "I apologize. It was a mistake to do that."
Spicer’s fulsome apology came after several hours after his initial remarks — as well as a botched, real-time effort to clarify what he meant — went viral and drew waves of criticism. There were incredulous reaction gifs, comparisons with United Airlines and calls for Spicer’s firing by Democratic lawmakers and others.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. In Europe, Secretary of State prepared for a complex trip to Russia The White House’s preferred message seemed to be a sharpening of rhetoric toward Russia (and Syria). But even Spicer seemed to acknowledge he’d thrown things off.
"I didn’t want to be a distraction to the president’s agenda," he said.
Elsewhere in Donald Trump’s orbit:
STILL (HEALTH) CARE: President Trump said wants tax reform but still insists that a health care must bill must come first.
IVANKA DOCTRINE?: Eric Trump says his father was persuaded to act in Syria, in part, because Ivanka Trump was heartbroken by the images of a chemical attack. (NBC)
PERL’S OF WISDOM: In a must-read, historian Rick Perlstein says President Trump’s rise is causing him — and other historians — to reconsider the rise of conservatism. (The New York Times)
CALIFORNIA DREAMING: California Democrats are pushing legislation that would jump their primary to right after Iowa and New Hampshire.
FINE LINES: Allies have been thrown off by the Trump administration’s approach to diplomacy. (Washington Post)
STILL HIRING: The federal government has a ton of high-level vacancies because of the Trump administration’s hiring practices.
ROCKETS ONLY: President Trump signaled that he doesn’t want more U.S. ground troops in Syria.
And there you have it, you’re caught up on the the Trump administration. Happy Tuesday. It’s never too late to say I’m sorry.