Bill Clinton came to the defense of John McCain after a White House staffer made a crude remark about him, calling him a “remarkable patriot,” The Wrap is reporting.
On Thursday, during a closed-door meeting at the White House, staffer Kelly Sadler intimated that McCain’s concerns about Trump’s CIA nominee, Gina Haspel, aren’t relevant because he’s “dying anyway.”
The Arizona Senator has been hospitalized since December 2017. Still, he’s been vocal about issues before the Senate, and of late, he’s been clear that he opposes Haspel due to her record on torture. Specifically, Haspel oversaw a so-called CIA “black site” in Thailand – a secret location where detainees were subject to waterboarding and other forms of “enhanced interrogation,” or torture. Further, Haspel directed her subordinates to destroy videotapes of detainees being tortured.
McCain, who was held captive for years in Vietnam and tortured mercilessly during those years, opposes torture and opposes Haspel’s nomination.
Cornered by TMZ reporters as he was walking into a New York building, Clinton was asked about his thoughts on McCain and the Sadler controversy. Clinton had nothing but praise for him.
“In my lifetime, he’s one of the most remarkable patriots our country’s ever produced. I love the guy.”
— The Hill (@thehill) May 10, 2018
Back during the Clinton administration, McCain and Clinton, though members of opposing parties, worked together to tie up some loose ends from the Vietnam War. McCain, for his part, was a member of the Senate sub-committee that investigated the fate of POW’s and MIA’s still unaccounted for and helped normalize U.S. relations with Vietnam. Clinton referred to that work as “effectively ending the Vietnam War” and called Vietnam “our best ally in southeast Asia.”
Sadler’s remarks Thursday were not the first time someone has made a disparaging remark in response to John McCain’s stance on torture, in light of the Haspel nomination. As The New York Post reported earlier this week, military analyst Thomas McInerney appeared on Fox Business this week and claimed that McCain has no right to speak on torture because it “worked” on him.
“The fact is, is John McCain — it worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.'”
McCain is joined by another Republican, Rand Paul, in opposing Haspel’s nomination. That means that Republicans appear to lack the votes needed to confirm her, as no Democrats appear to be poised to vote to confirm her.