A White House aide reportedly mentioned that dying Sen. John McCain’s views of CIA director nominee Gina Haspel don’t matter because, well, because he’s dying — and now the country’s in an uproar.
Come on now. Could we please move on from the whole John McCain Was Insulted and Deeply Offended story and find something else to cover?
No matter how it’s sliced, calling out a dying dude for dying, and pragmatically mentioning that he may not be around for a looming vote because of, once again, that whole dying thing, is not the stuff of Stop the Presses. It’s called factual.
It’s called poor taste.
It’s called a bad joke.
But calling it out for five days in the media? Holy cow — that’s a snit fit of epic proportions. That’s called who cares?
From CNN, one headline: “Senate Republicans blast White House over fallout from staffer’s McCain comments.”
From USA Today, another: “Meghan McCain says [Staffer] Should Have Expected Her ‘He’s Dying Anyway’ Remark To Be Leaked.”
And another from NY Mag: “White House Will Not Apologize for McCain ‘Dying’ Remark.”
Well, why should the White House?
The comment was made during an internal staff meeting — not a press-covered event. And it went, reportedly, like this: McCain’s opposition to Haspel “doesn’t matter” because “he’s dying, anyway.”
That was leaked, and the White House has since denounced the leaker.
But it’s the tasteless — tasteless but true — comment, rather than the leaking, that’s captured the media’s attention and imaginations of politicians.
Sen. John Thune has called it a “really unfortunate circumstance” that should have been “nipped” in the bud by an apologetic White House. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said the White House needs to apologize for “that really dumb” remark. McCain’s family members have expressed outrage. And Mitt Romney, ever the available Trump critic, has taken to Twitter to write: “John McCain makes America great. Father, grandfather, Navy pilot, POW hero bound by honor, an incomparable and irrepressible statesman. Those who mock such greatness humiliate themselves and their silence accomplices.”
Oh. My. Gosh.
Let it go. So a White House staffer made an off-the-cuff offensive — offensive but true — comment about McCain. A comment that was never supposed to reach the ears of the public, by the way.
This is not the story of the century. This is not even a story. This is the media on a witch hunt for anything that paints this administration in a poor light, and this is a hissy-fit of massive proportions. That’s all; there’s really nothing else to see here — except maybe to shine light on why the leaks in private White House meetings.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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