Bolton praises McCain, declines to apologize for White House staffer's remark

Bolton praises McCain, declines to apologize for White House staffer's remark
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National security adviser John Bolton on Sunday praised Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Memo: Summit fallout hits White House Graham: Biggest problem is Trump ‘believes meddling equals collusion’ Obama, Bush veterans dismiss Trump-Putin interpreter subpoena MORE's (R-Ariz.) character, but declined to apologize for or condemn a staffer's recent comments about the senator, who has brain cancer.

The Hill first reported on Thursday that White House communications aide Kelly Sadler downplayed McCain’s opposition to Trump’s CIA director nominee, Gina Haspel, saying “he’s dying anyway.” 

Bolton told CNN on Sunday that he wasn't in the meeting, but reflected on when McCain defended his nomination for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005.

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"He spent countless hours trying to help me out, and much of it was behind the scenes," Bolton said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"There was no political upside for John McCain in that effort at all, but he did it because he thought I was being treated unfairly," he continued. "I’ll never forget it, I’ll be grateful forever, and I wish John McCain and his family nothing but the best."

Bolton was ultimately installed as the ambassador via a recess appointment by former President George W. Bush.

Lawmakers have sharply criticized Sadler's comments and called for a public apology. The White House has not offered one, instead condemning the leak of the remarks.

When pressed on whether Sadler should be fired, or whether the White House has an obligation to apologize for the comment, Bolton refused to engage.

"I’ve said what I’m going to say on the subject," he said.