Dem to White House: Leaks could be prevented if officials were 'behaving normally'
© Cameron Lancaster

Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu (Calif.) chided White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Saturday, arguing that leaks from White House staff might stop if officials behaved "normally."

Lieu, one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE's most vocal critics in Congress, offered the mocking advice after Sanders reportedly scolded her staff for allowing the leak of a derisive comment about Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainArizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Another recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief MORE (R-Ariz.) this week.

"One way to prevent leaks is if Administration officials stopped saying demeaning things, stopped wasting taxpayer funds, and started behaving normally. Then the leaks wouldn't be of interest to the American people. Get it?" Lieu tweeted.

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The Hill first reported Thursday that White House aide Kelly Sadler said in a private meeting that McCain's vocal opposition to the confirmation of Trump's nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, "doesn't matter" because "he's dying anyway." 

McCain, 81, is in Arizona battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, with members of his family panning the White House aide's comment on Friday.

While Sanders apparently characterized the comment as "unacceptable," she was reported to have been more upset that the comment leaked in the first place. 

White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyProtect the Military Lending Act On The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Warren suggests Mulvaney broke law by speaking to GOP donors MORE similarly dismissed the aide's comment as a "bad joke" on Saturday but argued during a Fox News appearance that the bigger issue was that the remark had been leaked.

"The leak was designed to hurt that person. Also, it completely ignored the harm it would do to the McCain family, which is doubly inconsiderate," Mulvaney said.

Various lawmakers and political figures including former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenFord taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing Trump endorses Republican candidate in key NJ House race Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 MORE, a longtime friend of McCain, have condemned the comments.

The White House has not indicated it will fire Sadler or issue a formal apology.