In a recent comment aimed at Senator John McCain (R-AZ) by White House aide Kelly Sadler, we saw the Trump Administration reach yet another new low. Sadler dismissed McCain’s reservations about Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel as Head of the CIA by saying, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.” Though Sadler has since apologized by phone to John McCain’s daughter, Meghan, for the remark, Donald Trump has yet to apologize, or even address it.
John McCain had strongly opposed the President’s CIA nominee, Gina Haspel, over her role in enhanced interrogations, namely, waterboarding, saying “Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.” McCain himself was tortured during his 5 ½ years as a POW in VietNam.
Even after many have publicly wondered why Sadler still has her job, the White House has refrained from responding. Though it may be extreme to fire Sadler for her comment regarding John McCain, insensitive as it was, one wonders why the White House, in its silence over the issue, appears to support it. But as we’ve learned, apology isn’t Donald Trump’s style.
Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said, regarding Trump’s apparent refusal to address Sadler’s comment, “It doesn’t hurt you at all to do the right thing and be big.”
This administration has demonstrated time and again that it does not see honor and respect as worthwhile traits. Perhaps worse than Kelly Sadler’s remarks about John McCain were those of Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, who defended the practice of torture and disparaged McCain, all in one sentence, when he said on Fox Business, “It worked on John (McCain). That’s why they call him Songbird John.”
Though McInerney was implying that torture caused John McCain to give in to his captors under pressure, there is no evidence of this, though there is evidence that McCain gave false information to his captors. Incidentally, no one refers to John McCain as “Songbird John.” The Fox Business host, Charles V. Payne, apologized for his guest’s remark.
Regarding John McCain’s status as a war hero, Trump has declared that because McCain was captured, he was not a hero. “I like people who weren’t captured,” said Trump, a person who, indeed, escaped going to war, let alone being captured.
Donald Trump and his administration are defining a new standard of acceptable behavior toward others, and it’s not a higher standard. Though it involves “speaking one’s mind” and not apologizing, it does not involve bravery or courageousness. Though it consists in what some would call “candor,” it does not espouse truthfulness.
A large number of Americans remain adamant that Trump and his administration don’t represent who we are. And surely, Trump’s Republican party is not the Republican party of John McCain. But it seems that with every utterance of “That’s not who we are,” we learn of yet one more small breakdown of the foundation that once would have found Kelly Sadler’s John McCain comments horrifying – each taking us a small step farther along the path of who we are now becoming as a nation.
Fox host apologized after comments about ‘songbird’ John McCain | The Oregonian [2018-05-11]
White House refuses to address McCain comments made by aide | ABC News [2018-05-11]