It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the White House won’t apologize for one of its staffers’ morbid jokes about John McCain’s failing health. It’s become a painful fact that no one in that deplorable group could ever admit to being wrong despite obvious evidence to the contrary.
With that said, watching Republicans’ shameless, self-righteous posturing in solidarity against the president and White House communication aide Kelly Sandler’s callous comments about McCain’s impending death was all the more flagrant knowing that just a few short months ago they, too, were silent following an eerily similar situation when the proverbial shoe was on the other foot.
Senate Republicans in particular have demanded Sadler and the White House apologize for her reaction to McCain’s opposition to the president’s choice to lead the CIA, Politico reported. After McCain, a war hero who has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, said he wouldn’t vote for the nominee, Sadler quipped, “doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.” She has reportedly apologized privately to McCain’s family, but not publicly, despite reportedly telling McCain’s daughter she would do so.
However, those same Senate Republicans, as well as their House counterparts, had nothing to say when Donald Trump himself — the top White House staffer, if you will — unleashed an insensitive, inappropriate and indifferent comment to a grieving, pregnant widow of a soldier who was killed in combat in October. In that case, Trump metaphorically shrugged at Army Sgt. La David Johnson‘s wife, telling her that her husband “knew what he signed up for” by enlisting in the Army and dying.
Much like this time around with Sadler, the president refused to apologize publicly, or even in private, all the while denying he ever made the comment despite Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who said she personally heard Trump’s words, insisted otherwise.
Also in that instance was a deafening silence from the same Republican delegation pretending to be holier than thou this time around.
So, it begs asking: How can they claim moral ground now when they were just as complicit as Trump by not speaking up in support of Sgt. Johnson, who was killed after he and his fellow soldiers were ambushed by a terror group in Africa in October?
The sad truth of the matter is that Sadler probably wants to apologize and get it over with and move on but Trump won’t let her, because, again, as we all know, he simply doesn’t like McCain. In fact, there is an other similarity between the two cases that is impossible to ignore: Trump doesn’t like any soldier who get captured on active duty.
It’s unclear whether if Trump’s treatment of McCain has been because he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam or because the senator has emerged as a reliable voice of opposition to the president. But what is clear is that this president’s pettiness has permeated the White House, which perhaps unknowingly encouraged Sadler to cracked the insensitive barb.
This overt double standard goes well beyond the widening racial divide that was spurred on by Trump’s candidacy and cemented by his presidency. Of course the fact that Sgt. Johnson was Black contributed to Trump’s remarks, but what is also apparent is that this is how this administration operates — heartlessly.
Then again, we all know how the president feels about soldiers who get caught in combat.