Cicilline demands Spicer resign for ‘despicable’ Holocaust remarks

Congressman David Cicilline and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (WPRI-TV/AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — U.S. Congressman David Cicilline is calling on White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to resign for comments he made at a news conference Tuesday.

In talking about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Spicer made the comparison to Adolf Hitler, telling reporters the German dictator “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

The Barrington native later apologized in an interview with CNN, saying he “mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison.”

Spicer’s remarks made headlines around the world and drew instant backlash from Jewish groups and critics, including U.S. Congressman David Cicilline.

Cicilline, a vocal detractor of the Trump administration, demanded Tuesday that Spicer either step down or be fired for what he called a “despicable and totally ignorant statement.”

“The idea that someone would make a statement that would suggest that Adolf Hitler – who slaughtered six million Jews in gas chambers – wasn’t responsible for using chemical weapons is just… the level of ignorance to not know those facts or to know those facts and to make that statement with a complete disregard for the pain that experience has caused on the second night of Passover for goodness’ sake is disgraceful,” Cicilline told Eyewitness News. “He doesn’t deserve to be press secretary for the United States of America.”

In a statement, Cicilline said Trump’s White House shouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to anti-Semitism, making reference to the president’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

See Cicilline’s full statement below:

“Donald Trump’s White House does not get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to anti-Semitism. Steve Bannon made his name running a website that trafficked in anti-Semitism and racism. Seb Gorka has a history of working with anti-Semitic groups and individuals. And today, Sean Spicer made despicable, ignorant remarks about the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler. Enough is enough.”

“Steve Bannon should not work in the White House. Seb Gorka should not work in the White House. And after today’s comments, Sean Spicer should not work in the White House.”

“It’s time for some real accountability in this White House. And it should start with Sean Spicer’s resignation.”