Matt Schlapp: Kelly Sadler is 'a little bit of a victim here' on McCain comment

Matt Schlapp: Kelly Sadler is 'a little bit of a victim here' on McCain comment
© Greg Nash

Conservative commentator and American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp referred to Kelly Sadler as “a little bit of a victim” during an interview on CNN about the White House aide’s comments, first reported by The Hill, mocking Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO Mark Kelly considering Senate bid as Arizona Dems circle McSally MORE's (R-Ariz.) deteriorating health during a staff meeting.

“Kelly is my friend. I feel bad she is going through this. She immediately called to apologize. She’s also a little bit of a victim here,” Schlapp told CNN “New Day” co-anchor Chris Cuomo.

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“I don’t blame anybody like you for running with leaks out of the White House,” he continued in addressing Cuomo directly. “It’s your job. You are trying to get transparency to voters and Americans."

“The problem is none of us were in that room. The people who leaked what she said are people who have an animus against her. They go public. They have to solve that problem,” said Schlapp, whose wife, Mercedes Schlapp, serves as White House director of strategic communications.

“It is a perfectly logical thing to say, hey, will there be a McCain replacement? Will there be a McCain? Will he not be able to come to Washington? She could have meant it matter of factually,” he said. McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer last year.

Bill Kristol, founder and editor-at-large at The Weekly Standard and a staunch critic of the Trump administration, asked Schlapp why Sadler won't go on television to explain the McCain comment further.

“Let me tell you why. The reason is this: For this White House to comment on statements that are made in confidential meetings, if they continue to comment on what was said or not said, what was meant, they will never get out of this box,” Schlapp said. “They shouldn’t comment. They never should have said anything about this comment.”

“Come on. Of course they should have,” interjected Cuomo. “Not only should they have said John McCain doesn’t deserve it, the president could have tweeted it.”

“Once you start commenting about leaks out of those meetings, you will never be able to appropriately run your agenda. And you shouldn’t comment on it,” Schlapp replied.  

Kristol countered that Sadler “deserves credit for telling Meghan McCain,” but that she should have made a public apology. He also said he believed she had not because of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Ann Coulter blasts Trump shutdown compromise: ‘We voted for Trump and got Jeb!’ MORE.

“The chief of staff won’t say it because Donald Trump doesn’t want him to say that. The fish rots from the head. This is Donald Trump’s White House. People are behaving like Donald Trump,” Kristol said.

“She apologized, Bill,” Schlapp replied.

“She didn’t do it publicly,” Cuomo said in ending the segment.

“It is all public now,” said Schlapp.

The Hill reported four days ago that Sadler said during a private White House meeting that McCain's opposition to Gina Haspel, the president's nominee to replace Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump travels to Dover Air Force Base to meet with families of Americans killed in Syria Overnight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation MORE as CIA director, “doesn't matter” because “he's dying anyway.”

The 81-year-old McCain is home in Arizona undergoing treatment for brain cancer after being diagnosed in July 2017 with an aggressive type of brain tumor called primary glioblastoma.