Top Trump administration officials and Republican lawmakers offered heartfelt tributes to John McCain Tuesday night at the International Republican Institute’s annual freedom dinner, striking a marked contrast to the continued controversy facing the White House over its handling of a crude closed-door joke about the Arizona senator.
“Tonight, there is a man standing here right beside me, and you and I can see him in our mind’s eye,” said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, one of the Freedom Award recipients. “He’s a giant, in my mind, of American public life. He leads steadfastly, nothing can diminish him, he steadfastly represents the best of our country.”
McCain - Treatment - Brain - Cancer - Arizona
After McCain, who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer in Arizona, came out in opposition of CIA nominee Gina Haspel last week, The Hill reported that White House aide Kelly Sadler described his opposition as inconsequential because “he’s dying anyway.” The leaked remark drew nearly a week’s worth of bipartisan condemnation, with Republican senators questioning why neither Sadler nor the White House apologized publicly.
Notably, however, the incident did not come up during a GOP lunch with the president Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after the lunch, “the person who said that should apologize and should apologize publicly."
Tenor - Tuesday - IRI - Event - Contrast
The tenor of Tuesday’s IRI event offered a stark contrast to the firestorm surrounding the White House. McCain, the longtime chairman of IRI, was unable to make it to the D.C. dinner. But his presence loomed large.
“His influence today is so deeply felt in this capital, as it is in villages and refugee camps … and places all around the world. We need to look no further than his...
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