WH Staffer Still Hasn’t Publicly Apologized For Remark About ‘Dying’ McCain

WASHINGTON, DC - Senator John McCain speaks to journalists after Senate party caucus luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC Tuesday October 31, 2017. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
The Washington Post/The Washington Post

White House communications aide Kelly Sadler still has not publicly apologized for joking about Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) health, three days after she reportedly said McCain’s opposition to CIA director nominee Gina Haspel didn’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.”

McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer last year and is currently at home in Arizona.

CNN reported Sunday that in a previously-reported phone call with McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain, Sadler promised to apologize publicly for the comment. She still has not done so. CNN cited an unnamed “source familiar with the conversation” who described Sadler’s promise.

In fact, no one from the Trump administration has apologized for the remark, nor suggested Sadler should or will lose her job. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said the comment was “awful” but a “joke.” He, reportedly like White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was more upset that the comment had been leaked to reporters.

National Security Adviser John Bolton said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday that, though he owed a great deal to McCain professionally, “I’ve just given you my view,” and “I’ve said what I’m going to say on the subject.”

Meghan McCain said on “The View” Friday that she didn’t understand “what kind of environment you’re working in when that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job.”

The White House has not denied the Hill’s initial report about Sadler’s comment, which was subsequently reported by other outlets. TPM emailed Sadler and Sanders about the story on Thursday. The White House released the following statement: “We respect Senator McCain’s service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time.”

Sadler did not return a request for comment about CNN’s Sunday report.

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