Cruel comment on McCain shows White House rots from head down

Cruel comment on McCain shows White House rots from head down
© Getty Images

Donald Trump believes he can do no wrong. He never apologizes. Unless, of course, he is forced to do so after being caught on tape right before a presidential election, bragging about committing sexual assault whenever he wants to.

It is the only recent known public apology from Trump, and it was as inauthentic as it was rare. As disgusting a trait as this is, it has now become the mantra of the White House, whether set by tone, example or mandate. America should be ashamed.

You would be forgiven if you didn’t know exactly what I was referring to since Trump has crossed the line many times before and refused to apologize:

The latest incident involves Sen. McCain. Again. This time, it was not Trump directly, but one of his communications staffers.

According to reports, during a meeting in the White House where staff was talking about Senate support for Trump’s CIA nominee, it was brought up that Sen. McCain was not a yes vote. Kelly Sadler, of the White House communications team, said it did not matter because “he's dying anyway.”

The comment got leaked to the media, and all hell broke loose. As it should. This was a mean, crass, disrespectful and uncivil thing to say about a sitting senior senator who is in the fight of his life, battling late-stage brain cancer.

It doesn’t matter that it was said in private. It got out that is was said, and Sadler was right to apologize to Sen. McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain.

The White House and Trump himself are focusing on the misguided issue of White House leaks to distract from the horrid nature of the comments themselves. The “leak” issue is always the go-to issue for a White House that cannot apologize because it is not in the DNA of its boss.

But the leaks speak volumes: about either the lack of respect White House staffers have for each other and the president or the confidence they have in Trump as commander in chief, which is terrifyingly deficient.

The swampier the swamp gets, the leakier it becomes.

This continues to be a lighting-rod issue because Sadler has apparently not lived up to what she committed to Meghan McCain. She promised McCain's daughter she would offer up a public apology, which is the appropriate thing to do when your inappropriate and offensive remarks are made public.

It seems that after it was reported that Sadler apologized privately to McCain’s daughter, the White House did not allow her to apologize publicly for fear that it would show some sort of weakness, or a “giving in” to someone who has been a strident opponent of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump appears to confirm deal on Chinese firm ZTE Judge rejects Manafort's attempt to throw out some charges Dem: Trump’s policy of separating children, parents at border ‘would shock Jesus’ MORE.

If this is the case, we see yet again how the fish rots from the head. And if this is the case, we all should be ashamed. I know I am. I know the majority of Americans are as well.

That shame is reflected in the continued high percentage of disapproval for Trump —  a whopping 52 percent.

That shame is also reflected in the growing number of Republicans who are calling on the White House to apologize. Though, as always, there are not nearly enough Republicans doing so. Where is House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDon't let them fool you — Republicans love regulation, too Senate harassment bill runs into opposition from House The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — The art of walking away from the deal MORE (R-Wis.)? 

Where are Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerHillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech Senate GOP sounds alarm over Trump's floated auto tariffs Biden, Corker honored with Freedom House human rights awards MORE (R-Tenn.), Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Overnight Energy: Reporters barred from Day 2 of EPA summit | Dems blame Trump for gas price increases | Massachusetts to get new offshore wind farm Jeff Flake: Trump has 'debased' the presidency MORE (R-Ariz.), Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Trump scraps summit with North Korea For .2 billion, taxpayers should get more than Congress’s trial balloons MORE (R-Neb.) or any of the other senators who are either not running for re-election and have nothing to lose or have spoken out before against Trump without fear?

Would they allow their children to get away with insulting a classmate, teacher, one of their elders, a Church member, or a local elected official?

I guarantee you they would not. Unless for these silent Republicans, respect, honesty, civility, decency and humanity are no longer virtues they deem important to teach their children.

America is rightly ashamed.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.