Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) opposition to CIA director nominee Gina Haspel, because "her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying," has apparently pushed some Republicans to some dark places. Not long after a Fox Business guest, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, claimed Thursday morning that torture works and that it "worked" on "Songbird John," a White House press official reportedly joked during a meeting about McCain's likely terminal brain cancer. McCain's opposition to Haspel "doesn't matter, he's dying anyway," said Kelly Sadler, who focuses on immigration as a special assistant in the press office, two people told The Hill. Her comment was apparently meant as a joke, the sources say, but it caused "discomfort" in the room.
Other media outlets confirmed the comment by Sadler, a former opinion editor at The Washington Times, though the reaction to her comment is contested:
Can confirm The Hill’s reporting. (Not that it needed my confirmation.) Though I’m told there was some snickering at the comment, not stony silence. https://t.co/LhFOO3leF7
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) May 10, 2018
Sadler reportedly called Meghan McCain, John McCain's daughter, to apologize, and the White House put out a statement saying "we respect Senator McCain's service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time." McCain's wife, Cindy, tweeted Sadler directly:
@kellysadler45 May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) May 10, 2018
But Meghan McCain will respond Friday on The View, The Daily Caller reports. McCain and President Trump have a fraught relationship; Trump said in 2015 that McCain, who was tortured as a POW in Vietnam, "was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured," and McCain has apparently requested that Trump not attend his eventual funeral. Peter Weber