US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed controversial comments made by the White House press secretary on Tuesday comparing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s tactics to those used by Adolf Hitler.
During a press conference following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Tillerson was asked about White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s comments that unlike Assad, Hitler never stooped to the level of using chemical weapons.
A reporter asked Tillerson whether that rhetoric was “helping diplomacy or not.” Tillerson responded by emphasizing the horror of the Assad regime’s recent chemical weapons attack on civilians, which killed dozens last week.
“I think the perspective from the United States supported by the facts that we have are conclusive: that the recent chemical weapons attack carried out in Syria was planned and it was directed and executed by Syrian regime forces, and we’re quite confident of that,” Tillerson said.
“This is just the latest in a series of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, notwithstanding their use on more than 50 occasions of chlorine bombs and cluster bombs and other types of weapons that are intended to maim and kill in the most horrific ways. So I think the characterization is one that President Assad has brought upon himself.”
Spicer apologized for his comments Wednesday morning, saying he “screwed up” and that his comments were “inexcusable and reprehensible.”
Watch Tillerson’s response below:
— Reuters Live (@ReutersLive) April12, 2017