WH aide told Meghan McCain she would apologize publicly for morbid joke, but hasn't

White House aide Kelly Sadler promised Meghan McCain she would apologize publicly for mocking her father's health, a ...

Posted: May 14, 2018 10:23 AM
Updated: May 14, 2018 10:23 AM

White House aide Kelly Sadler promised Meghan McCain she would apologize publicly for mocking her father's health, a source familiar with the conversation has told CNN, but Sadler has yet to do so.

Sadler, a special assistant for surrogate communications, made the promise in an apologetic phone call to McCain after it was reported that she had jokingly said of Sen. John McCain, "he's dying anyway," in response to his opposition to President Donald Trump's pick for CIA director, Gina Haspel. The Republican senator is currently at home in Arizona as he battles brain cancer after receiving a diagnosis last year.

During the phone call, McCain told Sadler she needed to apologize publicly, and the White House aide said she would, according to the source. As of Sunday, however, neither the White House nor Sadler has made a public apology.

Sadler did not immediately return a request for comment Sunday.

On Friday, Meghan McCain responded to the reports on Sadler's remarks, which she made Thursday in a private meeting, by questioning how the White House aide could still be employed.

"I don't understand what kind of environment you're working in when that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job," she said on ABC's "The View."

A White House official told CNN on Thursday that Sadler meant the comment as joke, "but it fell flat."

The White House has not denounced the remark, which has drawn condemnation from prominent political figures, including Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is a close friend of McCain's, and former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders privately admonished communications and press staff on Friday over the leaked comment, according to several sources familiar with the meeting. But Sanders has focused more on the leaking of the comment than its substance, according to the sources.

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