GOP lawmaker: Trump aide’s joke about McCain’s health was ‘a moral failing’

GOP lawmaker: Trump aide’s joke about McCain’s health was ‘a moral failing’
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerSatellite images raise alarms about North Korean nukes Overnight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks ‘Stingray’ spying prompts fears about surveillance MORE (R-Ill.) ripped President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE’s White House aide for her “moral failing" on Friday after she reportedly made an off-color comment about Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPence, Pompeo urged Trump to clarify Russia remarks: report GOP lawmaker renews call for Trump to release tax returns after Putin summit House conservatives criticize media, not Trump, for Putin furor MORE’s (R-Ariz.) health. 

“My friend @SenJohnMcCain is a hero, a fighter, and a good man,” Kinzinger tweeted Friday. “He has a wife and a family, and he lives his life with honor. What was said yesterday goes beyond the pale; it’s a moral failing and unacceptable. Thinking of John & his family today.”

Kinzinger was referring to The Hill reporting on Thursday that special assistant Kelly Sadler brushed off McCain’s opposition to Trump’s CIA director nominee, Gina Haspel, by saying that “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”

McCain, 81, is currently battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Sources familiar with the matter told The Hill that Sadler made the derisive comments during a closed-door meeting with White House communications staffers on Thursday morning. The sources said they believed Sadler's comments were intended as a joke.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to address the issue during a Friday press briefing with reporters.

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

The comments set off a firestorm from politicians on both sides of the aisle and members of the media. 

McCain’s wife, Cindy, responded by reminding Sadler of the senator's family. 

His daughter, Meghan McCain, suggested that Sadler should be fired during Friday’s episode of “The View.”