White House staffer’s ‘disgusting’ McCain quip prompts calls for apology

Leak of Friday meeting details discussion of leaks about meetings as Graham and Bernie Sanders indicate Trump should say sorry

The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, told staffers an aide’s offensive commentary about Senator John McCain– that his opinion should be discounted because” he’s dying anyway”- was inappropriate but should not have been leaked to the media.

Calls for an official apology continued, meanwhile, with one of McCain’s closest friends in Washington indicating he guessed Donald Trump should say sorry himself.

McCain, 81, was the Republican nominee for president in 2008. Last July, he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the aggressive brain cancer which killed Senator Ted Kennedy and Beau Biden, son of former vice-president Joe Biden. McCain left Washington in December and had surgery last month for an infection.

Now resting at his Arizona ranch, McCain will this month publish a volume, The Restless Wave, in which he is critical of Trump and his record in office.

Reporting Sanders’ remarks about leaks, which were constructed in a private meeting on Friday, the Associated Press quoth a person very well known the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, Sanders told communications staffers the statement by Kelly Sadler, a special assistant to the president, was inappropriate. But the press secretary added that the leak of the comment was selfish and distracted from Trump’s agenda and” everything we’re trying to accomplish for the American people “.

Sanders, the source said , noted that the statement took attention away from Trump’s welcoming home of three Americans previously held in North Korea and a forthcoming summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore. During the session, the AP source said, White House director of strategic communications, Mercedes Schlapp, defended Sadler, saying the comment should not have been leaked to the media.

At the White House press briefing on Friday, Sanders declined to condemn Sadler’s comment, telling she would not” validate a leak out of an internal personnel meeting “. Sadler has declined to respond to requests for comment.

McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, said on ABC:” I don’t understand what kind of environment you’re working in when that would be acceptable and then you could come to work the next day and still have a job .”

The remark has provided ga for Trump’s Republican critics. On Saturday Mitt Romney, the 2012 presidential nominee who is running for the Senate in Utah, wrote on Twitter:” John McCain stimulates America great. Father, grandpa, Navy pilot, POW hero bound by honor, an incomparable and irrepressible statesman.

” Those who taunt such greatness only humiliate themselves and their silent accomplice .”

McCain’s close friend, the South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, told CBS in an interview broadcast on Sunday the statement was a” pretty disgusting thing to tell, if it was a joke, it was a terrible gag “.

Speaking on Face the Nation, the senator and sometime presidential golfing companion told:” I merely wish somebody from the White House would tell the country that was inappropriate, that’s not who we are in the Trump administration.

” John McCain can be criticised for any political decision he’s ever attained or any election he’s ever cast but he’s an American hero. And I believe most Americans would like to see the Trump administration do better in situations like this. It doesn’t hurt you at all to do the right thing and to be big .”

Asked if he thought Trump should apologise, Graham told:” I’ll leave that up to him, but if something happened like that in my office,[ if] someone in my office said such a thing about someone, I would apologise on behalf of the office .”

Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who operated for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, told CNN’s State of the Union it was ” beyond comprehension” that the White House had not apologised.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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