White House aide Kelly Sadler thought it would be funny to joke about Sen. John McCainâ€™s failing health. Sadler, whoâ€™s in charge of surrogate communications, claimed that no one should be worried about the Arizona senatorâ€™s opposition to Tumpâ€™s CIA pick because â€śheâ€™s dying anyway.â€ť
CNN reports that Sadlerâ€™s â€śjokeâ€ť fell flat.
McCain (R-Ariz.), who announced last year that heâ€™d been diagnosed with brain cancer, has been absent on Capitol Hill for long stretches since the diagnosis. He recently noted that when he dies, he doesnâ€™t want President Donald Trump to attend his funeral.
On Wednesday McCain, who has been a staunch opponent of the use of torture, called for his fellow senators to oppose Gina Haspelâ€™s nomination for CIA director because of abusive interrogation methods used by those under her watch.
McCain called Haspel a â€śpatriotâ€ť in his statement Wednesday but implored senators to vote against her confirmation.
â€śMs. Haspelâ€™s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing,â€ť McCainâ€™s statement read, The Hill reports. â€śHer refusal to acknowledge tortureâ€™s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.â€ť
Sadler reportedly called the senatorâ€™s daughter Meghan McCain on Thursday to apologize for the comment, and a White House official issued a statement to CNN about Sadlerâ€™s comment.
â€śWe respect Senator McCainâ€™s service to our nation,â€ť the official said. â€śHe and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time.â€ť
After learning that McCain was against her confirmation, Haspel issued a statement noting that she has the â€śutmost respectâ€ť for one of the longest-serving senators in history.
â€śI have the utmost respect for Senator McCain, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness with which he has approached this nomination process,â€ť she said.
The tension between the White House and McCain began last summer after McCain traveled to Washington, D.C., to record a no vote for Trumpâ€™s effort to repeal Obamacare. McCainâ€™s dramatic thumbs-down was the official nail in the coffin of a tightly contested proposal.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close friend of McCainâ€™s, warned that McCainâ€™s health is no joking matter.
â€śMs. Sadler, may I remind you that John McCain has a lot of friends in the United States Senate on both sides of the aisle,â€ť Graham said. â€śNobody is laughing in the Senate.â€ť