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McCain Friends and Family Demanding Apology from White House for Rude Comment, But Didn't Trump Set Stage?
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14 May 2018 06:50 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: John McCain (Image source: Public Domain)


Sen. John McCain, a war hero by no stretch of the imagination, has been slammed twice after he spoke up against Gina Haspel, and his friends and family are demanding an apology from the White House after one of the comments came from an aide. But there have been no apologies. Should we really be expecting one since Donald Trump himself has slammed the senator and has a history of bullying?

There's no need to go into the president's long history of bullying, both as president and before. It's well-documented, whether he was commenting on the press, women, handicapped individuals, Hillary Clinton, Alec Baldwin, or Rosie O'Donnell. 

But in one particular comment, when he was campaigning, Trump said of the senator, "He's not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."

McCain was a pilot with the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He was shot down in 1967 over Hanoi and was injured, then captured. He remained a prisoner of war until 1973, experiencing torture, and being left with permanent physical injuries. He retired from the Navy in 1981 and entered politics, even making a failed run for president in 2008.

He is currently on leave from the Senate while dealing with his diagnosis of brain cancer. With Trump's nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, and her known history of torture techniques when interrogating terrorists, including waterboarding, McCain urged his colleagues to reject the nomination.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney appeared on Fox Business to discuss McCain's comments and told Charles Payne, "The fact is — John McCain. It worked on him," he said. "That's why they call him 'Songbird John.' "

Payne issued an apology for the slight via Twitter. "At the time I had the control room in my ear telling me to wrap the segment and did not hear the comment. I regret I did not catch his remark, as it should have been challenged," he said.

"As a proud military veteran and son of a Vietnam vet, these words neither reflect my or the network's feelings about Sen. McCain or his remarkable service and sacrifice to this country."

But that was not the only ill-advised comment that was made regarding McCain. In a private White House meeting, White House staffer Kelly Sadler said McCain's feelings about Haspel don't matter as "he's dying anyway."

His daughter, Meghan McCain, who is a panelist on "The View," said on the show, "I don't understand what kind of environment you're working in where that would be acceptable, and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job."

Sunday she explained that Sadler apologized to her privately and promised to do it publicly. "When I had a conversation with Kelly, I asked her to publicly apologize, and she said she would." She went on to say, "I have not spoken to her since, and I assume that it will never come."

Sen. Bernie Sanders added his thoughts on the comment during a "State of the Union" appearance. "It is beyond my comprehension. It is one thing in the White House for somebody to say something crude and stupid and disrespectful about an American hero."

"It is another thing for them not to apologize. So, it is beyond my comprehension. And I just don't know what goes on in that White House mentality for there not being an apology for that terrible remark."

McCain's close friend Sen. Lindsey Graham was also appalled that there has been no apology. "It's [a] pretty disgusting thing to say," he commented. "If it was a joke, it was a terrible joke. 

"I just wish somebody from the White House would tell the country that was inappropriate, that's not who we are in the Trump administration," he continued, adding, "[If] somebody in my office said such a thing about somebody, I would apologize on behalf of the office."

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the comment and said, "I'm not going to validate a leak one way or the other out of an internal staff meeting." When asked why she wouldn't apologize for the remark, she said, "I'm not going to get into a back and forth because, you know, people want to create issues of leaked staff meetings."

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney excused the comment on Saturday. "You have to have freedom to speak in a private meeting, to speak candidly," he said. "We've all said things in private, especially in smaller groups that we work with, that we would never say publicly." He added that he was "really disappointed that someone would undermine @POTUS by leaking it" and that it was a "joke" that "fell flat."

But why should anyone expect an apology from the Trump White House? He bullies others repeatedly, speaks freely publicly against others, and has dissed McCain himself. This is a man who has never learned to take responsibility and clearly isn't ready to start. No one should expect him to then apologize on behalf of his staff, when he can't even do it for himself.

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