White House declines to condemn McCain remark

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

"People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration".

Kelly Sadler, a special assistant in the communications office who helps manage talking points for Trump allies, made the comment about McCain during a discussion among the White House communications staffers about Gina Haspel's nomination for Central Intelligence Agency director, which the Arizona Republican announced Wednesday that he opposed.

The fallout dominated yesterday's White House press briefing and had some veterans and a U.S. Naval Academy graduate steaming. John McCain, saying it wasn't meant to have that much impact because it was a "joke" that was made in a "private" meeting. "He has served all his life and he has served the country well", said Gordon Gerson, president of McCain's Naval Academy class of 1958.

"The White House right now is absolutely absurd", he added.

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"The fact is John McCain - [torture] worked on John". He won us all over back in the early days when he was just a congressman.

"McCain's wife, Cindy, tweeted at Sadler on Thursday, writing, "@kellysadler45 May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren". "He's not a war hero", Trump said. "The man is practically on his death bed from brain cancer".

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Friday refused to confirm or deny what Sadler had said. McCain said he opposes her confirmation as Central Intelligence Agency director because of what she did in the past.

Meghan McCain, the Arizona Republican's daughter, responded to Sadler's comment Friday on ABC's "The View". Some colleagues said afterward that they were unhappy she made the remark, and the White House issued a written statement Thursday expressing respect for Mr. McCain. The only fact that Sanders would confirm was that Sadler was still employed at the White House. "I am certain it will be John's".

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Although they were once political rivals in the 2008 presidential campaign, Biden and McCain have formed a close relationship, with Biden calling McCain "one of my best friends".

The incident came the same day a retired Air Force general called McCain "songbird John" during an appearance on Fox Business Network for allegedly providing information to the North Vietnamese while he was a prisoner of war.

McCain told Biden to not "walk away" from politics, according to The New York Times. John McCain helped us save our military.

McCain is at home in Arizona as he undergoes treatment after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer previous year.

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