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Donald Trump Jr.'s 'gas chambers' remark sparks calls for a retraction — here's his explanation

Donald Trump's eldest son is under fire for a comment he made on Wednesday while addressing the perceived differences he sees between the media treatment of his father and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

"The media has been her number one surrogate in this," Donald Trump Jr. said during an interview with Talk Radio 1210 WPHT. "Without the media, this wouldn’t even be a contest, but the media has built her up."

It's what he said next, though, that sparked some controversy.

After proclaiming that the media have let Clinton "slide" on every lie he believes she's told, while also purportedly ignoring Democrats' efforts to make sure Bernie Sanders didn't get the nomination, Trump Jr. proclaimed, "If Republicans were doing that, they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now."

Listen to Trump Jr.'s remarks below:

The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that fights anti-Semitism, was quick to step in and recommend that Trump Jr. apologize for his "gas chamber" reference.

The organization directly tweeted its concerns to the candidate's son.

"Trivialization of the Holocaust and gas chambers is NEVER OK," the ADL wrote in one message, adding in another, "We hope you understand the sensitivity and hurt of making Holocaust jokes. We hope you retract."

Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin also jumped in to critique Trump's comment, calling it "an unsurprising Nazi reference from the 'alt-right' movement's presidential campaign."

"This is the real Trump," McMullin added.

And as the Jewish Journal noted, Clinton then retweeted McMullin's message on her own Twitter feed, sharing it with more than 8 million followers.

Trump Jr. later clarified his remarks in an interview with NBC, explaining that he was referring to capital punishment and not Nazi gas chambers, and that he typically uses the words "electric chair" to make similar points.

His father's campaign weighed in as well, issuing a statement calling the media "liberal" and "dishonest" and accusing reporters of misinterpreting the remarks.

"The liberal, dishonest media is so quick to attack one of the Trumps that they never let the truth get in the way of a good smear," campaign spokesman Jason Miller told NBC in a statement. "Don Jr. was clearly referring to capital punishment to make the case that the media continues to take words out of context in order to serve as the propaganda arm of the Hillary Clinton campaign."

Miller said that this dynamic has only worsened as the polls between Trump and Clinton have tightened (the current Real Clear Politics average has Clinton up just 1.5 percentage points).

This isn't the first time critics have waged anti-Semitic claims against the Trump campaign, with the candidate's use of a six-pointed star sparking controversy earlier this year. There have also been claims that Trump has associated himself with members of the so-called "alt-right."

Trump has denied claims of anti-Semitism, though, calling them "ridiculous" in the past. And his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — husband of daughter Ivanka Trump — who is Jewish, has passionately defended Trump. In fact, he penned an op-ed in July that opened with the following line: "My father-in-law is not an anti-Semite."

Kushner said that it is unfair to link Trump to the "most fringe of his supporters," saying that such a standard isn't something that any other candidate is held to.

"The worst that his detractors can fairly say about him is that he has been careless in retweeting imagery that can be interpreted as offensive," he said.

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