Sarah Huckabee Sanders Calls Kelly Sadler’s John McCain Remarks A “Leak” & She Won’t Discuss It

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had quite the controversy to answer for on Friday. It was less than 24 hours after an administration official reportedly made a deeply offensive joke about cancer-stricken Arizona senator John McCain, but as it turned out, she wasn’t willing to get into any sort of specifics about it. Sanders ducked questions about Kelly Sadler’s “dying” John McCain joke during the press briefing, insisting that she wasn’t going to “validate a leak” about an internal administration meeting.

Sanders, who’s been the press secretary since the departure of Sean Spicer from the job last July, did not seem very pleased to be fielding the questions. It was on Thursday that Sadler, a special assistant to President Donald Trump, reportedly joked during an administration meeting that McCain’s opposition to CIA director nominee Gina Haspel was irrelevant, because “he’s dying anyway.”

McCain, 81, was diagnosed with glioblastoma last summer, a rare and highly aggressive form of brain cancer. It’s the same type of cancer that former Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy died from back in 2009, and McCain has been straightforward about just how poor his prognosis is.

“They said that it’s very serious, that the prognosis is very, very serious,” McCain told CBS’ 60 Minutes last year. “Some say 3 percent, some say 14 percent. You know, it’s a very poor prognosis.”

When repeatedly asked about Sadler’s remark ― and more specifically, whether Sadler still has a job at the White House ― Sanders more or less stonewalled, declining to address the substance of the reports.

“I’m not going to comment on an internal staff meeting,” she said. “I’m not going to validate a leak, one way or another, out of an internal staff meeting.”

Sadler’s reported remark has stirred controversy and outrage on social media, and in the mainstream media too. In particular, both McCain’s daughter Meghan and his wife Cindy have responded publicly, with Cindy sending a tweet to Sadler reminding her that he has a loving family.

Meghan, for her part, responded to the comment on Friday’s episode of The View, remarking that her father is actually “doing really well right now” before addressing Sadler directly.

“Kelly, here’s a little news flash, and this may be a little intense for 11 o’clock in the morning on a Friday, but, we’re all dying,” she said. “And it’s not how you die, it is how you live.”

According to reports, Sadler’s joke was met largely with silence, and a few uncomfortable laughs. The White House subsequently put out a statementexpressing “respect” for McCain’s service to his country, although it did not address Sadler’s remark.

The news came the very same day that a Fox Business on-air guest sparked controversy by voicing support for American use of torture, claiming it worked on McCain. Specifically, former Air Force officer Thomas McInerney told Fox Business’ Charles Payne that McCain, who was captured and held as a prisoner for more than five years during the Vietnam war, was proof that torture worked, derisively calling him “songbird John.”

For the record, there’s no evidence McCain ever surrendered valuable information to the Vietnamese throughout the years he was tortured and beaten, although that’s not even very relevant to the cruelty of the remark. Payne ultimately issued an apology over the incident, and it similarly drew a stern response from McCain’s wife, Cindy.

In short, McCain’s name has been in the press a lot the past few days, and not necessarily for happy reasons. For what it’s worth, however, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan chimed in on the conversation on Friday, calling the Arizona senator a “hero” who “gave his entire adult life for this country.”

[Bustle]

Media

Trump Slams McCain Blocking Obamacare Repeal: ‘Honestly, Terrible’

President Donald Trump slammed Sen. John McCain for opposing efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, vowing at a Friday campaign rally for an Alabama Senate candidate that Republicans would succeed on health care “eventually.”

The crowd booed as Trump said the opposition from McCain, R-Ariz., who announced on Friday that he would vote against the latest GOP health care bill, was “terrible, honestly, terrible” when he cast the deciding vote against an earlier measure.

“That was a totally unexpected thing,” Trump told the crowd.

The president went on to say that McCain’s opposition was “sad.”

“It was sad,” Trump said. “We had a couple of other senators, but at least we knew where they stood. That was really a horrible thing, honestly. That was a horrible thing that happened to the Republican Party.”

“It’s a little tougher without McCain’s vote, but we’ve got some time,” Trump said, acknowledging the difficulty in passing the Senate health care bill before a critical September 30 deadline. “We are going to do it, eventually.”

The boisterous arena rally recalled the heady days of Trump’s insurgent 2016 campaign. Thousands of supporters in the stands reprised chants of “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton and “build the wall,” and erupted in cheers when the president called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “little Rocket Man.”

But this time, Trump came as the president, using his first big endorsement trip outside of the Beltway to tout the establishment’s favored candidate in the heated special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump’s all-out support for interim Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., who is trying to close his gap in polls ahead of Tuesday’s GOP runoff election, is a political gambit, which the president acknowledged.

“I’m taking a big risk,” Trump said. “Luther Strange is our man.”

Challenger Roy Moore is an anti-establishment favorite, backed by many of Trump’s most prominent supporters — including Ben Carson, Trump’s HUD Secretary.

Trump said critics had given Strange “a bum rap.” And he praised the senator’s loyalty in the health care battle, recalling that Strange asked for nothing in return for his support to repeal Obamacare — unlike McCain and other unhelpful GOP senators.

“They are not doing a service to the people that they represent,” Trump said.

Democrats are as rare in Alabama as Louisiana State fans, but Trump warned that Moore, a controversial religious fundamentalist, would have “a very good chance of not winning in the general election” later this year.

If Strange pulls off a come-from-behind-win, Trump will get the credit and an infusion of political capital with elected Republicans when he needs it most.

“Our research indicates that he is the decisive factor,” said Steven Law, the president of the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that has spent almost $8 million backing Strange.

Trump is hugely popular in deep-red Alabama, gushing, “It’s nice to go places where people love you.”

Richard “Gator” Payne, the former commander of the local Purple Heart chapter, acknowledged he didn’t know much about Strange, but said Trump’s endorsement was enough for him. “I’m for Trump, and if Trump’s for Strange, then I’m for Strange,” he said.

[NBC News]

Media

Trump Goes Off-Script in Hour-Long Public Meltdown

After walking on stage at the Phoenix Convention Center to “God Bless the U.S.A.” for what was, effectively, a 2020 campaign rally, Donald Trump repeatedly ditched his teleprompter and went off-script as he ranted about being mistreated by the media in the wake of Charlottesville, relentlessly attacked an array of enemies including both of Arizona’s Republican senators, and portrayed himself as the true victim of a violent clash between white supremacists and counter-protesters that left one woman dead. Journalists and other social-media commentators watched, stunned, as he proceeded to spend the rest of his hour-long speech unloading on the mainstream press, praising a CNN pundit who was fired for tweeting a Nazi slogan, and re-litigating his entire response to Charlottesville, line by line, in what has become a hallmark of the Trump presidency: a full-on public meltdown.

With a captive, cheering audience of thousands before him, Trump reveled in the opportunity to vent, after a long summer of political crises, and to set the record straight. “What happened in Charlottesville strikes at the core of America,” he said, blaming the “thugs” and the “dishonest media” for the violence in Virginia. This statement drew nearly a minute of boos from the rabid crowd. “I strongly condemned the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the K.K.K. They know it because they were all there,” he said, referring to the media. “I thought I’d take just a second and do this, because you know where my heart is, to show how damn dishonest these people are.”

Trump proceeded to reread the statement he initially gave in response to the protest, conveniently leaving out the part where he blamed “many sides”—both white supremacists and the anti-racist counter-protesters—for the violence. He mocked the media: “It took a day! Why didn’t he say it fast enough!” He berated The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN in one breath, and flatly defended himself against charges of racism. “And then they say, is he a racist? And then I did a second one,” he said, referring to another statement he gave. “And then I said, racism is evil. Did they report that I said racism was evil? They all say what a bad guy I am. And then you wonder why CNN is doing relatively poorly in the ratings. They put seven people, all anti-Trump, and then they fired Jeffrey Lord!” he added, referring to the pundit who was fired after tweeting “Seig Heil” at a critic. “Poor Jeffrey.”

“The words were perfect,” Trump said of his own words about Charlottesville. “They only take out anything they think of, and all they do is complain. The media can attack me, but where I draw the line is when they attack you, the decency of our supporters. You are honest, hard-working, tax-paying—and you’re over-taxed, but we’re going to get your taxes down—Americans. It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions. They are trying to take away our history and our heritage.”

For a speech that began, ostensibly, as a call for unity, Trump’s rally was filled with barbed attacks on all variety of people who he said had no place in America. Trump spoke broadly about “liberating our towns” from undocumented immigrants, citing Joe Arpaio, pledging to purge “sanctuary cities” of undocumented immigrants and leading the crowd in a “build the wall” chant. He threatened a government shutdown if the wall he wants constructed between the U.S. and Mexico isn’t approved. And, after the White House said Trump wouldn’t pardon Arpaio during his rally in Phoenix, Trump hinted that a pardon would come. “Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe? Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” he asked. “He should have had a jury. But I’ll make a prediction. I think he’s gonna be just fine. But, but, I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy. Is that O.K.? But Sheriff Joe can feel good.”

The president reserved a few positive words for his friends in the conservative media—the only truthful people, he claimed, in a country full of fake news. Trump sang the praises of Fox and Friends and “honest guy” Sean Hannity, specifically, unlike the rest of the mainstream press. “These are dishonest people. They are bad people. The only people giving a platform to hate. Look back there! Those live red lights, they’re turning those lights off fast,” Trump said, apparently referring to the media bullpen at the convention center. “Like CNN. It does not want its falling viewership to watch what I’m saying tonight.”

[Vanity Fair]

Reality

In his 77 minute speech, Trump:

  • Lied about number of protesters outside the event, saying not too many people were there, but videos show thousands.
  • Attacked a free and open press for not showing crowd size. They were.
  • Attacked the press for misquoting his response to Charlottesville, so he read his statement, misquoting it, conveniently leaving out the controversial statement on blaming violence “on many sides.”
  • Defended the Confederacy.
  • Threatened to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t fund a southern border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for.
  • Attacked both Republican Senators from Arizona.
  • Claimed no president has even done more than him in the first seven months, despite no major legislation passed during this time.

 

 

Trump Slams McCain As a War Hero Because He Was Captured

Trump calls McCain not a war hero

Presidential candidate Donald Trump sparked yet another backlash among his fellow Republican candidates Saturday when he said that Sen. John McCain was only considered a war hero because he was captured – and seemed to mock him for that fact.

At the Iowa Family Leadership Summit when moderator Frank Luntz brought up McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Donald Trump said:

He’s not a war hero.

After an audience response that was less than impressed at his comment, Trump tried to walk back his comment.

He’s a war hero ’cause he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK? Perhaps he’s a war hero, but right now he’s said some very bad things about a lot of people.

Trump caught flack from every direction but refused to change his stance on McCain. When asked by ABC News whether he owes McCain an apology, Trump said:

No, not at all.

Then continued:

People that were not captured that went in and fought, nobody talks about them. Those are heroes also.

Later when confronted with his comments about McCain by a veteran and supporter at a rally, Trump flatly lied that he never made those comments.

VETERAN: I come here because you made a comment to John McCain that you don’t think that captured soldiers are heroes

TRUMP: (interjecting) Oh no no no I was, I never did that.

 

 

VETERAN: What I want you to do, is just clarify that for me because I think it’s important for all these people here, and for a lot of veterans in Ohio—especially Ohio—and I know what you were doing.

 

 

TRUMP: (again interjecting) You know exactly when I was doing. But they are heroes, just so you understand, they are real heroes. Thank you.

Media

Links

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-john-mccain-war-hero-captured/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/18/politics/donald-trump-john-mccain-war-hero/

http://www.weeklystandard.com/trump-falsely-claims-he-never-said-mccain-wasnt-a-hero/article/2001538

Trump Still a Birther

Trump birther tweet

Years after President Obama produced his birth certificate, Donald Trump reiterated his belief that Obama was not born a natural citizen to CNN.

Do you know that Hillary Clinton was a birther? She wanted those records and fought like hell. People forgot. Did you know John McCain was a birther? Wanted those records? They couldn’t get the records. Hillary failed. John McCain failed. Trump was able to get (Obama)] to give something — I don’t know what the hell it was — but it doesn’t matter.

Media

Links

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/donald-trump-birther-obama-119945