In the wake of reports that White House communications aide Kelly Sadler joked about Senator John McCain “dying,” President Trump on Monday slammed the media for exaggerating the leaks but also took aim at those in the White House who leak information to the press.
“The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible,” Trump tweeted. “With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to comment on the matter at Friday’s briefing with reporters. However, she reportedly “scolded” her staff over the controversy.
“Sanders called the comment ‘unacceptable,’ but was said to be more upset about the leak than the off-handed comment from White House staffer Kelly Sadler that McCain’s opposition to their CIA director nominee Gina Haspel ’doesn’t matter, because he’s dying anyway,’” reports ABC News.
Axios’ Jonathan Swan detailed a similar account, noting that a source told him, “[Sanders] made a point of immediately saying Sadler’s comment was wrong but her point was that these issues should be litigated internally and airing grievances through the press inflicts immense damage on the White House.”
The White House has faced widespread criticism over Sadler’s remarks targeting McCain, who’s battling brain cancer
“People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration,” former Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement on Friday. “It happened yesterday.”