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Sanders scolded staff for leak of White House official’s ‘dying’ McCain comment: report

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reportedly scolded her staff on Friday after one White House official's derisive comment about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) became public.

In the meeting with communications staffers, Sanders called the comment by special assistant Kelly Sadler "unacceptable," according to ABC News, but sources told the network she was more upset over the leak of the remark.

"I am sure this conversation is going to leak, too. And that's just disgusting," she said according to a report by Axios on Saturday.

White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney on Saturday also condemned the comment making its way to the press. During an appearance on Fox News, Mulvaney called Sadler's comment a "bad joke" but said it was "inconsiderate" that it leaked.

The Hill first reported Thursday that Sadler said during a private meeting that McCain's opposition to President Trump's nominee to become CIA director, Gina Haspel, "doesn't matter" because "he's dying anyway." 

McCain, 81, is in Arizona battling brain cancer.

The comment prompted fierce pushback from lawmakers and the news media on Friday, while Sanders was grilled over the comment during the daily press briefing.

Mercedes Schlapp, the White House director of strategic communications, said Friday during a White House meeting that she stood by Sadler, Axios reported.

"You can put this on the record. ... I stand with Kelly Sadler," she said, according to Axios.

A source told the news outlet that she was emphasizing that staff members should defend their colleagues whose comments get leaked to the press. 

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