UPDATE: Cramer calls coverage of Sean Spicer’s Hitler comments overblown
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told a North Dakota radio show that the White House press secretary's recent comments comparing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler were "not without some validity," and later told CNN that Sean Spicer had...
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told a North Dakota radio show that the White House press secretary’s recent comments comparing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler were “not without some validity,” and later told CNN that Sean Spicer had made “a very poor illustration even if technically true.”
Cramer was commenting on Spicer after a Tuesday comparison of the two leaders, during which Spicer made reference to Hitler to emphasize the atrocities of al-Assad’s regime.
“(Hitler) didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said, later clarifying that “I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
Poisonous gas was used by Hitler's Nazi Germany to kill millions of people. Spicer apologized on Tuesday for his remarks, which drew sharp condemnation. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for Spicer’s firing, as did the executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.
“The media is so gullible, they fall for these things because they think it's really hot stuff and the public just can't wait to stick it to Sean Spicer -- who 99 percent of the people wouldn't have the foggiest idea who he is and it distracts them from other things," Cramer told radio host Scott Hennen on KFYR radio on Wednesday, according to a CNN report. "I think what he was saying is that Hitler didn't take chemical weapons out in a battle-like form and do what Assad did with these children."
Though Cramer separately told Forum Communications columnist Rob Port on his radio show that the press secretary’s comments were “dumb,” he also said Spicer should not resign. But in an interview with the Herald, Cramer claimed he isn’t defending the press secretary.
“Even if his comments have some validity, they’re stupid comments. The fact that it was a major news story in the first place was a demonstration of how biased … our media is,” Cramer said, questioning whether the story would be so big for a Democratic press secretary and pointing to the atrocities Assad has committed in Syria. “I think it was a really poor illustration that (Spicer) apologized for.”
Cramer drew criticism of his own for his comments, with Robert Haider, executive director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL, claiming Cramer “should know better.”
“Even though Spicer stated that he was wrong in comparing Bashar al-Assad to Hitler and apologized for it, Cramer still found it necessary to support those comments,” Haider said.
Haider was joined by a Rachel Irwin, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an organization working to elect Democrats to the House of Representatives.
“By coming to the defense of Sean Spicer and calling his comments valid, Rep. Kevin Cramer is complicit in this administration’s record of Holocaust denial,” Irwin said.
Cramer has been a frequent media critic since at least November, when he signaled his intent to request media bias hearings for national broadcast networks. He sent a questionnaire to executives at CBS, NBCUniversal and ABC on March 31 on newsroom fairness and their coverage of President Donald Trump and last year’s campaign.
Cramer was also an early endorser of Trump during the presidential campaign, and appeared to be a finalist for the Energy Secretary position eventually awarded to Rick Perry, speaking with Trump about the possibility in December.