White House cancels daily press shop staff meeting following damaging McCain joke leak

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
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Carlos Barria/Reuters

  • The White House communications team canceled its large daily staff meeting following the recent leak of an offensive comment made about Sen. John McCain by a press shop aide.
  • A smaller group of top communications staffers, rather than the full group of approximately 30 employees, met on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, The New York Times reported.
  • On Wednesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called recent leaks “disgusting” and said she is prepared to fire the culprits.

The White House communications team canceled its large daily staff meeting following the recent leak of an offensive comment made about Republican Sen. John McCain by a press shop aide.

A smaller group of top communications staffers, rather than the full group of approximately 30 employees, met on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, The New York Times reported.

Press aide Kelly Sadler last week took a rhetorical swing at McCain after the senator criticized President Donald Trump’s pick for the CIA. Sadler’s remark that McCain’s opinion “doesn’t matter” because “he’s dying anyway” was leaked to the press and went viral, upsetting the McCain family.

Sadler called McCain’s daughter to apologize, but neither she nor the White House has publicly apologized for the comment.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders blamed recent leaks on “a couple of bad actors” and said she is prepared to fire any staffers who continue to leak to the press.

“I think it is disgusting and some of the most shameful behavior that you could ever engage in,” Sanders told “Fox and Friends.” “It’s an honor and a privilege to work for the president and to be part of his administration. And anybody who betrays that I think is a total and complete coward and they should be fired.”

On Monday, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said she expects there will be a staff shakeup in the wake of the Sadler leak.