Meghan McCain: Sadler defenders will have to 'answer for their own conscience'

Those who have defended White House aide Kelly Sadler for mocking Sen. John McCain's health will have to "answer for ...

Posted: May 14, 2018 7:07 PM
Updated: May 14, 2018 7:07 PM

Those who have defended White House aide Kelly Sadler for mocking Sen. John McCain's health will have to "answer for their own conscience," McCain's daughter Meghan said Monday.

"People are going to have to answer for their own conscience," she said on ABC's "The View." "When you go on TV -- I've never actually gone on TV and lied -- I've had that liberty in my life. And I think when you go on TV and you say things like this, your belief in right and wrong, people espouse a lot about God and living with values, and when you say things like that, it's what you're going to have to live with at this point."

Sadler, a special assistant for surrogate communications, jokingly responded Thursday morning to the Arizona Senator's opposition to President Donald Trump's pick for CIA director, saying in a private meeting that "he's dying anyway."

Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a rare type of brain tumor, last July.

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Sadler called Meghan McCain on Thursday to apologize for the remark. A source familiar with the conversation told CNN Sadler promised McCain she would apologize publicly, but Sadler has yet to do so.

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 Vice President Joe Biden.

But some have come to her defense. On Sunday, director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney told Fox News it was a "badly considered joke that she said fell flat," criticizing the leaker of the comment. On Monday, Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union and husband of White House adviser Mercedes Schlapp, said on CNN's "New Day" that Sadler is "a little bit of a victim here."

Press secretary Sarah Sanders privately admonished communications and press staff 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.

Meghan McCain described the fallout over the weekend as "horrific" for her family.

On Sunday, she responded to criticism from actor Kumail Nanjiani, who tweeted, "What was said about McCain was vile, but I wish the McCain's had been as offended and vocal when vile stuff was said about other people/races/nationalities. Perhaps we wouldn't be in this moment right now."

McCain fired back, posting a video of her father on the campaign trail in 2008 defending Barack Obama from a voter who feared the then-Illinois Senator was "an Arab."

"You mean like he did here? I could give you literally thousands of examples of my father speaking up against bigotry of all kinds but this video sums it up pretty concisely. You know nothing about my family or my father Kumail, nothing," she wrote.

Nanjiani later backtracked, saying he did not mean to offend her and adding, "If we had more politicians like your father, the world would be a better place."

McCain, who wore gray Monday to commemorate Brain Cancer Awareness Month, said it was her hope that her family can turn the conversation to raise awareness for the disease.

"The only silver lining of all of this, including this horrific weekend and moments that my family's been having, is we have a platform to hopefully pivot this toward brain cancer research and hopefully helping children in need," she said.

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