White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday wished India a happy Independence Day with nearly two months to go for the actual holiday. Spicer, whose frequent gaffes have alternately caused hilarity and outrage, was addressing a press conference ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States when he made the confusing, though no doubt well-intentioned, comment.
Spicer answered a question from a reporter by saying that he would first like to “wish the people of India a happy 70th anniversary on their independence,” before moving on to more mundane details on Modi’s upcoming visit such as defence partnerships and law enforcement. “I think it’s going to be a very robust discussion,” Spicer continued, apparently unaware of his miscalculation.
It remains unclear what led him to believe that India’s Independence Day, usually celebrated on August 15, had been advanced to June. Subsequently, Twitter users had their own theories on what might have slipped him up.
Others, however, thought it kindest to simply supply the correct information.
Spicer’s job as press secretary has been the subject of both derision and sympathy. He has repeatedly been caught up in his own words trying to address controversial and sometimes discombobulating tweets by President Donald Trump. In the past, Spicer has caused worldwide consternation by claiming Adolf Hitler did not use poisonous gases to kill Jews, and also appeared to hide among bushes at the White House to avoid being questioned on one of the many scandals involving the current US administration.