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‘I Screwed Up’: Sean Spicer Says He Regrets Comments on Inauguration Crowd Size and Hitler

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Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he “screwed up” during his time serving in the Trump administration.

“There were times where I screwed up, there’s no question about it,” he told conservative commentator S.E. Cupp during an interview set to air on her HLN show Thursday evening.

“The inauguration, you brought it up,” Spicer said when asked to name examples of a moment he regretted. “There was an event where I was trying to talk about how evil Assad was and I screwed that up royally.”

Spicer, who served as President Trump’s first press secretary, got off to a rough start with reporters when he falsely claimed the crowd gathered at the 2017 inauguration was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”

Even as reporters pushed back and photographs showed that Trump’s crowd appeared much smaller than the one that had gathered from Barack Obama, the new president and Spicer stood by their claim. Since his resignation from the White House last summer, Spicer has tried to rehabilitate his image and told the New York Times in September that he regrets attacking journalists over the crowd size issue.

But the inauguration was far from the only time when Spicer made controversial remarks from the press secretary’s spot at the front of the briefing room.

The other instance he mentioned in the Thursday interview occurred during an April briefing when Spicer was talking about Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who had recently used chemical weapons to attack civilians. Spicer compared Assad to Adolf Hitler, and then incorrectly said the German dictator did not use chemical weapons on his own people. Hitler did use deadly pesticide gas to kill Jews and other prisoners his Nazi regime kept in concentration camps during the Holocaust.

While Spicer said he was not happy with everything he did as press secretary, he maintained that the role was an “unbelievable honor.”

“Look, I’m a very self-critical person,” Spicer said Thursday. “I honestly went out every day to do the best job I could for the president of the United States, who gave me an unbelievable honor, and to basically do the best job I could for the American people, because that’s ultimately who you serve.”

“So when I screwed up, yeah it felt really bad,” Spicer added during the interview. “You’re realizing that you’re tarnishing your personal reputation, your family’s reputation, your friends who like you and support you, some of your colleagues and ultimately again this administration and the American people who I wanted to do my best for every single day.”

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Write to Abigail Abrams at abigail.abrams@time.com