Kelly Sadler, a White House communications aide, dismissed Senator McCain’s objection to U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee to be CIA director, Gina Haspel, by saying that it “doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” a source familiar with the closed White House meeting told Reuters.
Speaking on the ABC show The View, which she co-hosts, Meghan McCain said she wanted to inform Sadler that her father’s battle with brain cancer has made her realize the meaning of life was “not how you die, it is how you live.”
“I don’t understand what kind of environment you’re working in when that would be acceptable, and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job,” McCain said.
John McCain, who has spent the last several weeks convalescing at his home in Arizona as he battles brain cancer, released a statement after Haspel’s confirmation hearing on Wednesday, slamming her for refusing to condemn torture. He recommended his fellow senators vote against her.
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McCain is not expected to return to Washington to cast a vote on her nomination.
McCain was tortured as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, sustaining injuries from which he has never completely recovered.
Several of McCain’s fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill have condemned Sadler’s remarks.
Jeff Flake, Arizona’s other senator and a frequent critic of the White House under Trump, tweeted an article about the comments and wrote: “There are no words.”
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst tweeted that the United States should “treat this war hero and his family with the civility and respect they deserve.”
Republican Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina said Sadler’s comments were “outrageous & unacceptable” and demanded a public apology.
Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement: “People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday.”
Meghan McCain thanked the public for its support and said nobody should feel sorry for her or her family.
“My father’s legacy is going to be talked about for hundreds and hundreds of years,” she said. “These people – nothing burgers.”
Sadler’s comments were reported the same day that a guest on Fox Business Network, retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, suggested McCain divulged critical information to the North Vietnamese after being tortured.
A network spokesperson said McInerney would no longer be invited on the Fox Business Network or Fox News.
McCain’s wife Cindy also tweeted a message, directed at Sadler, pointing out that her husband “has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren.”