According to The Hill, a Trump administration official mocked Sen. John McCain’s health status Thursday during an internal meeting, saying the senator’s feelings on CIA director nominee Gina Haspel are irrelevant, because McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis meant he might not be alive much longer.
Special assistant Kelly Sadler made the derisive comments during a closed-door White House meeting of about two-dozen communications staffers on Thursday morning.
“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” Sadler said, according to a source familiar with the remarks at the meeting.
The White House neither confirmed nor denied Sadler’s remarks:
“We respect Senator McCain’s service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time,” the White House said in a statement to The Hill.
Sadler did not respond to a request for comment and the White House did not make her available to The Hill.
Both sources who confirmed that Sadler made a comment with the stated sentiment, if not the exact wording, said it was likely meant as a joke but didn’t go over well.
There was “discomfort” in the room after Sadler’s comment and the conversation continued without addressing it, according to the second source.
Sadler is not the first Trump administration member to mock McCain:
In a speech shortly after announcing his presidential bid in 2015, Trump responded to criticism from McCain by saying “he’s not a war hero” because he was taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese.