Providing further proof that there really is no limit to the cruelty and callousness to which the Trump administration will stoop, yesterday it was revealed that White House special assistant Kelly Sadler, during a meeting with other Trump officials to discuss Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) opposition to the appointment of Gina Haspel to head the CIA, said, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”
McCain is currently struggling with a stage four glioblastoma and is not expected to return to the Senate. He voiced his opposition to Haspel’s nomination because during her Congressional hearing, she refused to state definitively that she would not reinstitute torture programs if Trump requested it, a troubling response given her history of running a CIA black site in Thailand where people were tortured.
Sadler’s incredibly insensitive comment was leaked, and the backlash was swift, with both Democrats and Republicans condemning the heartless mockery, and some calling for Sadler’s immediate firing. As of yet, she remains employed by the White House, a fact that is not surprising given her boss’s penchant for bullying and insults. After all, this is the president who mocked McCain’s time as a prisoner of war by stating that he preferred soldiers who didn’t get captured.
Now, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a longtime close friend of McCain, has addressed Sadler’s inexcusable behavior.
“Ms. Sadler, may I remind you that John McCain has a lot of friends in the United States Senate, on both sides of the aisle. Nobody is laughing in the Senate,” Graham said to CNN.
Graham’s comments could perhaps be interpreted as a threat. That is to say, if the Trump White House disrespects McCain (more than it already has) it may find the Senate less amenable to its agenda. Given Graham’s track record of blowing hot air only to immediately fold for Trump in the past though, it’s unlikely the threat has any real teeth.
But Graham’s emotion is certainly sincere. Just this past week, he flew to Arizona to spend time with McCain.
“When I got there, [he had] gained weight, [he was] eating good. We watched our favorite western, ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence,'” Graham told CNN. McCain apparently provided an “R-rated” commentary throughout the film, showing that despite his illness he hasn’t lost his sense of humor.
Whatever you may think of McCain’s politics — and there’s a ton to dislike about them — no one should be cheering for him to die. This man suffered unimaginable torture for his country, and though his political service ended up being deeply misguided, it’s clear that he cares for the United States.
He also has a family of loved ones who will be devastated by his passing. If for no other reason than empathy for them, the White House should keep its collective mouth shut about McCain’s health.
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