Furor built Friday among members of Congress, family members and pundits following news that one of President Trump’s communications aides, Kelly Sadler, mockingly referenced Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis during a White House meeting Thursday.
“There are no words,” tweeted Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., on Friday, reacting to a report about her comments.
During a White House meeting Thursday, Sadler reacted to McCain’s announcement that he opposes Gina Haspel’s nomination to serve as CIA director because of her involvement in the agency’s enhanced interrogation program.
“He’s dying anyway,” Sadler said, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the meeting.
The White House hasn’t denied Sadler’s remarks and multiple spokespeople have not responded to questions from NBC News about Sadler’s future in the administration.
McCain’s daughter, Meghan, questioned Friday why Sadler still has a job.
“I don’t understand what kind of environment you’re working in that that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job,” she said on ABC’s “The View.” “My father’s legacy is going to be talked about for hundreds and hundreds of years. These people are nothing-burgers. Nobody’s gonna remember you.”
Cindy McCain, the senator’s wife, tweeted at Sadler Thursday evening, “May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren.”
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Friday on Twitter, “Our nation should be grateful for the exemplary service and sacrifice of [McCain], and treat this war hero and his family with the civility and respect they deserve.”
In another tweet, Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., called Sadler’s comments “outrageous and unacceptable.”
“It’s a sad day in this country when White House officials are mocking a man who was tortured as a prisoner of war,” Jones said. “He’s more than earned the right to speak out on these matters. A public apology should be issued immediately.”
Democratic lawmakers sounded a similar note.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., tweeted shortly after the story first broke that it was “unacceptable” for anyone in the Trump administration to “cruelly mock veterans” like McCain, no matter their political or policy differences: “he gave so much for our nation,” he said, referencing the torture he endured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.
McCain, 81, who has served in Congress since 1983 and was diagnosed nearly a year ago with an aggressive form of brain cancer, has not returned to Capitol Hill for several months while undergoing treatment.
Reacting to Sadler’s comments, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., tweeted Friday, “Is part of being low and small that it’s irresistible to show just how low and small you are?”
“Our politics may be different but John McCain is an American hero,” tweeted Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., on Thursday. “The vile and repugnant attacks we’ve seen from POTUS, WH staff and the far right are disgusting and show how small they are next to this honorable man.”
The initial report of Sadler’s comment came the same day Air Force Lt. Gen Thomas McInerney mocked McCain during a TV appearance on Fox Business network, arguing that torture had worked on the Arizona senator.
“The fact is, is John McCain — it worked on John,” McInerney said. “That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.'”
NBC News reported last weekend that people close to McCain have asked Vice President Mike Pence to participate in funeral events for the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, not President Trump. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush are slated to be eulogists at McCain’s funeral service, which is to be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., a source close to McCain said.
This article provided by NewsEdge.
This article provided by NewsEdge.