It's been a rough few days for Sen. John McCain and his family. On Friday, Meghan McCain responded to White House official Kelly Sadler's reported joke about the senator's brain cancer diagnosis on The View, pointedly questioning how Sadler still had a job in the White House.
"I don't understand what kind of environment you're working in when that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job," McCain said on The View, where she's a co-host.
The Hill reported Thursday that White House official Kelly Sadler had brushed off Sen. McCain's opposition to the nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA director in a closed-door meeting. "It doesn’t matter," Sadler reportedly said about the senator, "he’s dying anyway."
CNN journalist Jim Acosta later tweeted that a White House official confirmed Sadler's remark in the meeting. According to The Hill, the White House did not deny that Sadler made that comment, saying in a statement: "We respect Senator McCain’s service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time."
Sadler's supposed joke sparked swift condemnation on social media. Soon after The Hill report came out on Thursday evening, Sen. McCain's wife, Cindy McCain, tweeted at Sadler: "May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren."
Politico's White House reporter Annie Karni also tweeted on Thursday evening that according to a source, Sadler had called Meghan McCain about her remark. "It didn't go so well," according to Karni's source.
It wasn't the only crass remark that the McCain family dealt with on Thursday. That morning, a guest on Fox Business Network pointed to Sen. McCain as an example in trying to make an argument that torture was effective.
"The fact is, is John McCain — it worked on John," the guest, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, said. "That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.'"
The host of that show, Charles Payne, later apologized on Twitter:
This morning on a show I was hosting, a guest made a very false and derogatory remark about Senator John McCain. At the time, I had the control room in my ear telling me to wrap the segment, and did not hear the comment. ... I regret I did not catch this remark, as it should have been challenged. As a proud military veteran and son of a Vietnam Vet these words neither reflect my or the network’s feelings about Senator McCain, or his remarkable service and sacrifice to this country.
Cindy McCain had called out Fox Business Network and Payne, too, tweeting, "
@FoxBusiness @cvpayne Please choose your guest more wisely." (Payne responded to Cindy on Twitter: "Yes, I will and hope you accept my apology.")
Sen. McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2017, after doctors discovered a tumor during a procedure to remove a blood clot above his eye. He's since spent most of his time in a Phoenix hospital seeking treatment, though he has traveled back to Washington, D.C., for certain occasions, including to cast his vote on the Affordable Care Act repeal bill. Most recently, the senator's doctors have said they were "very optimistic" about his recovery.
McCain himself has not responded to either McInerney's or Sadler's remark. Perhaps he won't, but his family members have stepped up to the plate.
In her response on The View on Friday, Meghan McCain spoke directly to Sadler. "Kelly, here's a little news flash. ... We're all dying. I'm dying, you're dying, we're all dying. And I want to say that since my dad has been diagnosed ... I really feel like I understand the meaning of life, and it is not how you die, it is how you live," she said. "Don't feel bad for me and my family. We're really strong."