Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) may have only days left to live, but his adversaries aren’t going to let his final moments go by without a bit of conflict. On Thursday morning, McCain received a ruthless “going away gift” from the White House, and now, his family is furious.
PEOPLE reports that a White House official mocked Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis just three weeks after the politician underwent surgery for an intestinal infection. The remarks were reportedly made on Thursday morning, one day after the Republican announced that he opposed President Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel.
“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” special assistant Kelly Sadler allegedly said during a closed-door meeting at the White House. The White House responded to the comments in a statement, saying, “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 respond to a request for comment and the White House did not make her available to The Hill. A source later told The Hill that Sadler called the senator’s daughter Meghan McCain to apologize. The Thursday morning meeting was led by deputy press secretary Raj Shah. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was not present. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway showed up to the meeting after the remark was made, according to the first source.
A source who heard Sadler’s remarks could not confirm her exact wording, but agreed that Sadler made comments along the lines described by the first source. Both sources said they believed the comment was intended as a joke, but that it did not go over well with others at the meeting.
There was “discomfort” in the room after Sadler’s comment and the conversation continued without addressing it, according to the second source. Sadler is a former opinion editor for The Washington Times. At the White House, she focuses on illegal immigration, often sending out press releases to highlight stories about the issue to reporters. [Source: The Hill]
McCain’s wife, Cindy, 63, tweeted at Sadler on Thursday, writing, “@kellysadler45 May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren.”
@kellysadler45 May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) May 10, 2018
John McCain, 81, was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2017 after undergoing a surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye last summer. He was hospitalized in December to treat side effects related to his cancer therapy. More recently, McCain underwent surgery in April after contracting an intestinal infection.
Meghan McCain, the senator’s daughter and a co-host on ABC’s daytime talk show “The View,” offered an update on her father’s condition at the time, tweeting, “My father @SenJohnMcCain is in stable condition – he continues to inspire me everyday with his intense grit and determination. Thank you to the doctors at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix and to everyone who is praying for him.”
My father @SenJohnMcCain is in stable condition – he continues to inspire me everyday with his intense grit and determination. Thank you to the doctors at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix and to everyone who is praying for him.
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) April 16, 2018
On Tuesday, Meghan asked the general public to stop discussing her father’s funeral, as he has not yet passed. “It’s just insensitive and it’s not appreciated at the moment,” she said Tuesday on “The View.”
Many conservatives have taken issue with Senator John McCain’s more centrist politics over the years, but now is not the time to pass judgment or play partisan games. Rather, it is a time to reflect on McCain’s service as a member of the military and of the U.S. government and to pray for his family as they spend what are likely the senator’s last days together.