- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2018

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to comment on an aide who said Sen. John McCain’s opposition to a nominee didn’t matter because “he was dying anyway.”

Mrs. Sanders said she wouldn’t comment on what occurred at “an internal staff meeting.”

While not acknowledging the insensitive remarks, she insisted that “we have respect for all Americans.”

The White House has been lambasted for the insensitive remark by Kelly Sadler, a communications aide. She reportedly made the remark at a White House meeting after Mr. McCain announced his opposition to CIA director nominee Gina Haspel.

“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” Ms. Sadler said, according to people at a White House meeting Thursday where she made the remark.

Despite calls to fire Ms. Sadler, she remained at her White House job Friday.

The remark by Ms. Sadler, a former editorial page employee at The Washington Times, was first reported by The Hill, citing sources in the closed-door meeting.

“I’m not going to validate a leak one way or another out of an internal staff meeting,” Mrs. Sanders said when questioned about it at the daily White House briefing.

Asked what tone President Trump set that engendered that remark, Mrs. Sanders said no such tone was set.

“We have respect for all Americans. That is what we try to put forward in word and action,” she said.

Mr. McCain, who suffered torture as a POW in the Vietnam War, said Ms. Haspel’s role at the CIA regarding the use of torture on terrorist suspects following Sept. 11 was “disturbing.”

“Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination,” the Arizona Republican said.

Mr. McCain, 81, was diagnosed with brain cancer last year. He is undergoing treatment and has not returned to the Senate in months.

He might not ever return to the Senate. Recent reports indicated his family is making funeral arrangements, which include Mr. McCain’s request that Mr. Trump not attend his funeral.

Mr. McCain often clashed with Mr. Trump.

Scorn was heaped on Ms. Sadler and the White House by news outlets such as CNN and MSNBC.

The White House did not deny Ms. Sadler made the remark.

“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.

Meghan McCain, the senator’s daughter and a host of ABC’s “The View,” said on the show that she questions why Ms. Sadler still had a job at the White House.

“I don’t understand what kind of environment you’re working in where that would be acceptable, and you can come to work the next day and still have a job,” she said.

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