When President Donald Trump assembled a small group of communication department staffers in the Oval Office after staffer Kelly Sadler’s off-color joke about Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sadler reeled off the names of White House leakers — including her boss, Strategic Communications Director Mercedes Schlapp, who was standing with her at the time.
According to a Sunday Axios report, Trump gathered Sadler, Schlapp, White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah, and Chief of Staff John Kelly to discuss the leaking problem. The door to the outer office space was reportedly open.
Per Axios, Trump opened the meeting by telling Sadler that he would not fire her for her remarks. She had said that McCain’s opposition to then-CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel didn’t matter because he was “dying anyway.” In another part of the conversation, Trump reportedly mentioned his dislike for McCain.
Trump then asked Sadler for the names of the biggest White House leakers, according to Axios. She immediately named Schlapp, who had earlier pledged her support of Sadler in the height of the joke’s backlash. Schlapp reportedly defended herself vigorously. Sadler then added many of her other colleagues’ names to the list.