By Mahita Gajanan
April 11, 2017

White House press secretary Sean Spicer incorrectly said Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons against his own people during World War II while comparing him to Syrian President Bashar Assad during a press conference on Tuesday.

“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” he said.

Spicer’s comment and later attempts at clarification caused a stir on social media on Tuesday afternoon. Hitler’s Nazi regime used poisonous gas against Jews, Catholics, homosexuals and the handicapped during the Holocaust.

Read what he said below after being asked about the U.S. response to Assad using chemical weapons in attacks in Syria last week.

Later, Spicer was offered chance to clarify his statement regarding Hitler. Here’s what he said:

Following the press briefing, Spicer issued further clarification, saying he was not “trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust.”

“I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers,” he said. “Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable.”

Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com.

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