Days after an internal White House staffer made an inappropriate comment about Sen. John McCain during an internal meeting, the Trump administration has yet to make a formal apology. This has angered many politicians, who are now calling for Trump to apologize, according to Politico.
The snide comment was made by Kelly Sadler, who is a communications aide. She was commenting on how McCain opposes Gina Haspel’s nomination to be the next CIA director, and how it didn’t really matter “because he’s dying anyway.” Sadler was referring to McCain’s terminal brain cancer diagnosis, which he’s known about since July.
Sadler reportedly called McCain’s daughter, Meghan, to apologize. While she was being interviewed on The View, Meghan said she wondered why Sadler was allowed to keep her job after making such a comment, wondering about the “work environment” that would tolerate such behavior.
On Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and said that “it is beyond my comprehension. It is one thing in the White House for somebody to say something crude and stupid and disrespectful about an American hero…It is another thing for them not to apologize.” Sanders then went to on to speculate that the lack of apology reflects on the “White House mentality,” referring to the work environment under the Trump administration.
Additionally, CBS News reported how Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the comments were “a disgusting thing to say,” and also wants an apology from the Trump administration. He noted that “if it was a joke, it was a terrible joke.”
On the other hand, when National Security Adviser John Bolton was on CNN speaking with Jake Tapper, he dodged Tapper’s question repeatedly when asked, “how do you feel about that comment and why won’t the White House apologize?” according to the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, staff have merely been scolded by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, and she has been able to keep her job. According to ABC News, however, the source of Sanders’ anger seemed to be directed toward the leak over the actual comment. Apparently, Sanders was “on the verge of tears” during the meeting because “she was emotional because she was angry.” Meanwhile, Sadler reportedly did not apologize. To compound the issue, a senior White House communications aide, Mercedes Schlapp, said that “I stand with Kelly Sadler.” For Sanders, the entire debacle could have been avoided had someone not leaked the comments to the public.
Some speculate that Trump’s prior mocking of McCain as a prisoner of war has attributed to a workplace that tolerates demeaning remarks. For many people like Sanders and Graham, it’s unacceptable to mock McCain, considering his current state of health, political history, and service to the country in the military.