From the April 11 edition of CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer:
WOLF BLITZER (HOST): I know you want to clarify what you said but why did you even make that comparison to Hitler on gas attacks? As you know, 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Many of them with poison gas.
SEAN SPICER: Well thanks for having me, Wolf. I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that [Syrian President Bashar Al-] Assad made against his own people last week using chemical weapons and gas. And frankly I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the the Holocaust for which frankly there is no -- there is no comparison. And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that. And I appreciate [Former CIA] Director [Leon] Panetta's comments and will keep those in mind.
BLITZER: So, tell us who you're apologizing to right now. There are Holocaust survivors out there who were listening to what you said and couldn't believe a spokesman, the press secretary for the president of the United States, would make such a statement. So just specifically tell us who you want to apologize to.
SPICER: Well, clearly, anybody who not just suffered in the Holocaust or is a descendant of anybody, but frankly, you know, anyone offended by those comments. It's not, as I said, I'm not in any way standing by them. I was trying to draw a comparison for which there shouldn't have been one. It was insensitive and inappropriate. So I'm not looking to quantify this in any way. It was an attempt to talk about -- I should have stayed focused on the Assad regime and the dangers they had brought to their own people and terrible atrocities they did and to drag any other comparison into this was not appropriate.
BLITZER: Did you not know, Sean, that there were gas chambers where the Nazis brought Jews and others, gypsies, homosexuals, and others -- mostly Jews, to slaughter them in these poison gas chambers at Birkenau- Auschwitz and other death camps?
SPICER: Yes, clearly, I am aware of that. And as I said initially, there is no attempt to clarify. The point was to try to talk about the use of aircraft as a means by which Assad was using this to gas his people. But it was a mistake to do that. And again that's why I should have stayed on topic, stayed focused on the actions that Assad had taken, and the horrible atrocities he committed against his own people.