GOP Rep. Introduces Bill That Would Demand White House Apologize To McCain

Many in Congress are furious over a White House aide joking that McCain is "dying anyway."

The highest-ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee introduced a resolution on Thursday calling for the White House to issue a public apology to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) after a staffer reportedly made disparaging comments about the senator’s health.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) authored the bill, titled “Calling on and encouraging the White House to issue a public apology.” He and co-sponsor Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) argue that McCain deserves to be treated with respect and dignity given his many years of service to the country. 

The apology would be issued on behalf of communications aide Kelly Sadler, who reportedly scoffed at McCain’s opposition to the nomination of Gina Haspel for Central Intelligence Agency Director by noting that “he’s dying anyway.” McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer last July.

“While this apology should have already taken place, it is never too late to apologize,” the bill says. It adds that “every family deserves dignity and respect in the trying times of a loved one’s declining health,” and states that “our religious and social traditions call upon us to apologize for wrongdoing.” 

“The president, perhaps more so than any elected official in this great country, should practice the politics of decency,” Cleaver said in a statement.

Although Sadler reportedly called McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain to personally apologize, the White House has yet to issue any kind of formal apology.

Various senators on both sides of the aisle have expressed their disgust with the comment, some also calling for a public apology.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he wished “somebody from the White House would tell the country, ‘That was inappropriate, that’s not who we are in the Trump administration. And John McCain can be criticized for any political decision he’s ever made or any vote he’s ever cast, but he’s an American hero.’”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) lamented that it was beyond his “comprehension” that the White House wouldn’t issue an apology.

“I just don’t know what goes on in that White House mentality for there not being an apology for that terrible remark.”