White House doesn't apologize for Kelly Sadler comments, says she spoke to McCain's family

- Mei 14, 2018

The White House on Monday sidestepped multiple opportunities to apologize for communications aide Kelly Sadler’s rude joke about Sen. John McCain’s health, saying she is still a West Wing employee and has reached out to his family.

“I was told Kelly Sadler called the McCain family late last week and did apologize,” White House deputy principal press secretary Raj Shah said at Monday’s press briefing. “I wasn't on the call. I was told she made it prior to the story being published. She apologized for the comment.”

“She has addressed it with the family directly,“ he added.

Sadler during a private meeting dismissed McCain’s opposition to Gina Haspel, Trump's pick to become the next CIA director, by saying, "It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway." The Arizona Republican was diagnosed with cancer in July.

McCain last week said he opposed Haspel’s nomination due to her involvement with the CIA’s past use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, which McCain and others have labeled torture.


Several prominent lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have denounced Sadler’s comments, including Republicans Mitt Romney and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Matt Schlapp, American Conservative Union chairman and husband of White House director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp, said Monday on CNN that Sadler is “a little bit of a victim” following the leak of her comments.

When asked about Matt Schlapp‘s comments, Shah said Sadler's remark had been addressed internally. He said the White House has criticized leakers since the incident, which occurred at a closed staff meeting, because officials feel that the inability to speak freely in meetings makes for a difficult work environment.

“When you work in any work environment...if you aren't able in internal meetings to speak your mind or convey thoughts or say anything that you feel without feeling like your colleagues will betray you, that creates a difficult work environment,” Shah said. “I think anybody who works anywhere can recognize that.“

Shah would not address questions about whether Sadler's comments would be deemed appropriate in any work environment. He declined to say what he thought of Sadler’s remarks during the private meeting, which he was reportedly leading.

“This is not about my opinion,” he said. “This is an internal matter. We addressed it internally.“


 

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