McConnell visits Sen. John McCain in Arizona over weekend
PHOENIX — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revealed Monday that he visited U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at his northern Arizona home over the weekend.
McConnell said in a floor speech that he visited McCain because he “didn’t want to miss the opportunity…to tell him how much his friendship meant to me. I was confident I was speaking for everyone in the Senate and conveying our deepest respect to him.”
The Senate leader also said he and the McCains, including wife Cindy, “had a chance to sit on the back porch and reminisce about our friendship and all we had shared over the last 30 years.”
The announcement came amid an ongoing controversy between the Arizona senator and the White House, after it was reported that a White House official mocked McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis during an internal meeting last week.
“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” special assistant Kelly Sadler allegedly said.
The comment was reportedly made in response to McCain’s opposition to Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director.
The White House has yet to apologize for the comment, even as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle call on the administration to do so. Sadler remains employed.
McConnell did not address Sadler’s remark in his floor speech or in a series of later tweets.
Trump calls leakers ‘cowards’ after aide’s remark on McCain
President Donald Trump called West Wing leakers “traitors and cowards” on Monday as a dustup over the crass remark about McCain extended into a fifth day.
In a Monday afternoon tweet, Trump said the “leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible.”
He added of the leakers: “We will find out who they are!”
White House spokesman Raj Shah said Monday that Sadler had been “dealt with internally.” But he refused to say how.
Pressed repeatedly on the issue at a briefing, Shah said Sadler apologized privately to the McCain family and still remains in her position.
But Shah, who led the meeting in which Sadler made the comment, declined to say whether any disciplinary steps had been taken. He said he could not discuss how the situation was “addressed internally” because then it would no longer be internal.
Sadler called the senator’s daughter Meghan McCain, a co-host of ABC’s “The View,” to apologize last week. Meghan McCain told ABC News that, during their conversation, she’d asked Sadler to apologize publicly and that Sadler had agreed.
“I have not spoken to her since and I assume that it will never come,” Meghan McCain told ABC.
McCain, a 81-year-old former Navy pilot, has been fighting cancer since he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, in July 2017.
The typical survival period after a diagnosis is 12 to 15 months, though a small percentage live longer than five years.
McCain recently underwent surgery at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix to treat an intestinal infection related to diverticulitis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.