A top official in the Trump White House mocked Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis in a private meeting on Thursday, a day after the Arizona Republican announced his opposition to Trump’s nominee for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, saying “it doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” reports The Hill.
Special assistant Kelly Sadler made the controversial remarks during a closed-door White House meeting that came amid a discussion of Haspel’s nomination and McCain’s opposition to it.
“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” Sadler said, according to a source familiar with the remarks at the meeting that included about two-dozen communications staffers on Thursday morning.
The White House did not deny the account of 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.
The Hill reports:
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.
According to the source, there was “discomfort” in the room after Sadler’s comment and the conversation continued without addressing it.