White House refuses comment about Sadler's McCain remark

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The White House is refusing to condemn a staffer who said during a closed-door meeting that Arizona Sen.

McCain was tortured as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, sustaining injuries from which he has never completely recovered. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., tweeted about Sadler's remark, which came during a White House meeting on Thursday.

Echoing similar comments from former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenGOP lawmaker introduces bill requiring pictures of Trump, Pence at post offices Invisible primary has already begun for Dems Five takeaways from Trump's Iran announcement MORE, Costello said mocking a dying senator represented a degradation in America's political discourse.

Asked about Sadler's comment, a White House official said, "We respect Senator McCain's service to our nation, and he and his family are in our prayers during this hard time".

"I'm not going to validate a leak out of an internal staff meeting one way or the other", Sanders said.

Ms McCain thanked the public for its support.

McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, reacted to the White House aide's mocking remarks on Friday on "The View", saying she doesn'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". "We have a respect for all Americans".

Her father is "all about character and bipartisanship and something greater than yourself", Meghan McCain said, before adding a stinging message to the critics: "Nobody's going to remember you". "These people - nothing burgers".

McCain's wife, Cindy, responded with a tweet tagged to Sadler, "May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren". "It happened yesterday", said Democratic former vice-president Joe Biden, who served with McCain for decades in the Senate. "His legacy is so long that John McCain is a hero to us and. all of our thoughts and prayers are with John and his family right now at this time". "Given this White House's trail of disrespect toward John and others, this staffer is not the exception to the rule; she is the epitome of it".

"The fact is, with John McCain, it worked on John".

In 2017, Trump was criticized for giving belated well-wishes to McCain after his cancer diagnosis.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said on Twitter, "Our nation should be grateful for the exemplary service and sacrifice of [McCain], and treat this war hero and his family with the civility and respect they deserve".

The White House is facing mounting scrutiny over its refusal to acknowledge the incident, drawing criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and members of the media.

"He's not a war hero", Mr Trump said.

Several of McCain's fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill condemned Sadler's remarks.

Sadler's comments were reported the same day that a guest on Fox Business Network, retired Air Force Lieutenant-General Thomas McInerney, suggested McCain divulged critical information to the North Vietnamese after being tortured.

The fraught relationship between McCain and Trump dates back several years.

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