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Meghan McCain responds to White House official joking about John McCain "dying"

WH aide dismisses McCain: "He's dying anyway"
W.H. aide dismisses McCain comments, says "he's dying anyway" 03:29

Meghan McCain publicly responded to a derisive comment a White House official made about her father for the first time. Her comments came on ABC's "The View" Friday morning.

The Hill first reported, and other outlets confirmed, that Kelly Sadler, special assistant to the president, told other White House  staffers in a meeting, "It doesn't matter, he's dying anyway," after McCain voiced his opposition to the president's pick to run the CIA. The senator, who is at his ranch in Arizona battling brain cancer, said he could not square CIA nominee Gina Haspel's failure to condemn torture with his values. 

"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," Meghan McCain said on the show Friday morning. 

Senator McCain's daughter started out her response to the reported remarks by emphasizing no one should feel sorry for her, or her family. 

"First I just want to say is, don't feel bad for me or my family. We're really strong," she said. "There's so much more love and prayer and amazing energy being generated towards us than anything negative at all. And I feel so blessed. My dad's actually doing really well right now, and I believe in the power of prayer. And I think it's helping. So I want to thank all the positivity of people with that."

"The other thing I want to say is that 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. I'm dying. You're dying, we're all dying. And I want to say that since my dad has been diagnosed, the past, it's almost a year, July 19, I really understand the meaning of life. And it is not how you die — it's how you live." 

Sadler has reached out to Meghan McCain to apologize for the comment, CBS News' Christina Ruffini reports. 

Whoopi Goldberg had much harsher words for Sadler, and for the White House culture, calling the reported comment, "insanely despicable" as she opened the show.

"I guess the fish stinks from the head, because it's easy to say something like that and not think that 'ooh, that is a wrong-headed comment to make out loud.' ... Unfortunately, you are under someone who does this," Goldberg said, referencing President Trump. 

During the campaign, Mr. Trump famously disparaged McCain's time as a prisoner of war. "I like people who weren't captured," he said in 2015. Mr. Trump has never served in the military.

McCain's captivity was again criticized on Fox Business Network Thursday, when military analyst Thomas McInerney referred to McCain as "Songbird John." McInerney made the comments in a conversation about the enhanced interrogation practices that took place in the post-9/11 era, in light of Haspel's nomination. Haspel testified about that dark chapter in CIA history in her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, and pledged that such practices would not take place under her leadership. Fox Business Network host Charles Payne apologized to McCain and his family on Twitter for failing to intervene in the conversation, saying he hadn't caught the remarks. 

Meghan McCain also responded to those remarks, saying, "at some point when you're tortured, everyone breaks" and can give false information. 

"My father's legacy is going to be talked about for hundreds and hundreds of years," she said. "These people, nothing burgers. Nobody's gonna remember you."

— CBS News' Arden Farhi contributed to this report

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