White House official derides McCain over Haspel opposition: 'He's dying anyway'
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington last summer. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP) May 10 at 7:15 PM Email the author
A White House official derisively dismissed John McCainâs opposition to President Trumpâs CIA nominee in a closed-door staff meeting Thursday by saying that the senator from Arizona battling brain cancer is âdying anyway,â according to another White House official with knowledge of the comment.
Kelly Sadler, a special assistant in the communications office who helps manage talking points for Trump allies, made the comment about McCain during a discussion among the White House communications staffers about Gina Haspelâs nomination for CIA dir ector, which the Arizona Republican announced Wednesday that he opposed.
âIt doesnât matter, heâs dying anyway,â Sadler said, according to the official with knowledge of the comment, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because remarks made during internal meetings are intended to remain confidential.
Sadlerâs comment was first reported by The Hill and confirmed by The Washington Post.
A White House spokesman did not dispute the report and issued a statement on behalf of the White House: âWe respect Senator McCainâs service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time.â
Sadlerâs comment comes amid tension between the White House and McCain, 81, who has been at home in Arizona fighting brain cancer. McCain â" a Navy officer who was captured in Vietnam after his aircraft crashed and was tortured as a prisoner of war â" urged his Senate colleagues to oppose Haspelâs nomination.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) leaves a closed-door session on Capitol Hill in December. McCain has been battling brain cancer. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
After watching Haspelâs Senate testimony Wednesday, McCain issued a statement saying that although Haspel is âa patriotâ and a longtime public servant, her past work at the CIA overseeing interrogation programs was âdisturbing.â
âHer refusal to acknowledge tortureâs immorality is disqualifying,â McCain wrote in a statement. âI believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.â
The fraught relationship between McCain and Trump dates back several years. In the summer of 2015, shortly after launching his presidential campaign, Trump mocked McCainâs war service, saying of the 2008 Republican presidential nominee: âHeâs not a war hero. Heâs a war hero because he was captured. I like people that werenât captured.â
The New York Times reported last weekend that McCainâs associates had informed the White House that they do not plan to give Trump a speaking role at his funeral, to be held at Washington National Cathedral, but that Vice President Pence would be welcome to attend.Source: Google News