White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer “needs to go” after comparing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad with Adolf Hitler, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) said Wednesday, making him the first Republican member to publicly call for the press secretary’s resignation.
During a town hall meeting, a constituent called on Coffman to denounce Spicer’s controversial comments suggesting Hitler didn’t “sink to using chemical weapons” like Assad did during a chemical strike that led to the deaths of dozens of civilians last week.
“Spicer made a terrible mistake yesterday, and he admitted it,” Coffman responded to the constituent who said that her great grandparents died in Auschwitz. “He needs to go because I just don’t think he’s serving the president well.”
But Coffman fumbled while trying to explain why the press secretary made those controversial remarks by inexplicably going down the same road Spicer did and relitigating Nazi chemical weapon.
“So what [Spicer] tried to do was this, he said — and it’s true: the German army in WWII had chemical weapons and chose not to use them,” Coffman continued. “Because they felt that the retaliation would, you know, the math didn’t work for them. But at the same time — so, he was trying to make that point about Russians.”
“Stop apologizing,” a constituent shouted in the crowd.
“But then what he did is, he didn’t mention the fact that six million Jews were killed,” Coffman explained. “By chemicals. Yeah, I don’t want to apologize for him.”
— ABC News (@ABC) April 13, 2017
On the other side of the political aisle, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has also called on Spicer to be fired.
Coffman’s reprimand comes at a time when constituents have been hounding Republican lawmakers at town halls to stop their quest to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Coffman, a moderate and vulnerable incumbent up for reelection in 2018, was one of a handful of Republicans who showed up at town hall meetings during the Easter recess to confront angry constituents over the House Republican’s health care replacement plan.
Earlier this year, the Colorado congressman made an early departure from a heated town hall event by sneaking out through the back door.