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It’s been a long day for Sean Spicer.
At a press briefing Tuesday afternoon, the White House press secretary was admonishing Syria for its recent gas attack when he claimed that even Hitler “didn’t sink to using chemical weapons.” The historically challenged comments stunned reporters in the room, and instantly generated an avalanche of criticism from Jewish groups and Democrats.
Spicer apologized for his remarks on CNN Tuesday evening, but as he spoke, he committed two more unfortunate verbal blunders.
First, as Spicer tried to get on message, he mentioned President Donald Trump’s action in Syria, namely “the attempts he’s making to destabilize the region and root out ISIS out of Syria.”
Spicer with another slip: Don’t want to distract from “the president’s decisive action in Syria and attempts …. to destabilize the region” pic.twitter.com/OT62FJhbHk
— Brandon Wall (@Walldo) April 11, 2017
CNN confirmed after the interview that Spicer indeed meant to say stabilize, not destabilize, which naturally have opposite meanings.
It’s not the first time he’s confused the two words:
— Aldin Abazović ???????? (@CT_operative) April 11, 2017
Minutes later in the interview, Spicer fumbled over the name of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in a linguistic misstep so flagrant that CNN host Wolf Blitzer had to jump in and set him straight.
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) April 11, 2017
“Bashar al-Assad. I know you’ve mispronounced his name a few times, but it’s Bashar al-Assad,” Blitzer said.
Spicer has previously pronounced the Syrian leader’s name “Ashad,” “Bashad al-Assar” and as The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple industriously transcribed, “Bissaa al-Ashar.”
The exchanges were roundly mocked on Twitter:
And then Wolf stuck the knife in, hitting Spicer on his mispronunciation of Bashar El-Assad. (Spicer says “Ashad”…)
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) April 11, 2017
Even in his apology on CNN, Spicer said Trump is attempting to “destabilize the region”, when your job is words, this is a disaster.
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) April 11, 2017