In a heated closed-door meeting , White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders excoriated the White House communications team for leaking a Trump staffer’s disparaging comments about Sen. John McCain to the press, according to Axios.
But even Sanders’ words to her own staff weren’t immune from being leaked, and she knew it.
“I am sure this conversation is going to leak, too,” Sanders said according to a person who was in the room. “And that’s just disgusting.”
As Axios’ Jonathan Swan points out, “Sanders’ prediction came true.”
The White House communications and press team has been beset by leaks. This last one appears to have crossed a line, and several people in the room on Friday told me they now walk into meetings knowing they can’t trust their own colleagues. In big meetings, they feel inclined, now, to keep their mouths shut.
According to people in the meeting, Sanders expressed disappointment over top White House aide Kelly Sandler’s comment that McCain’s opposition to Gina Hadler’s nomination as director of the CIA didn’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.” But according to Sanders, it still didn’t justify the leak.
Sanders’ reportedly lamented that the leak sidelined Trump’s historic greeting with freed from North Korea.
“No one is condoning the remark,” the source told Axios, defending Sanders. “The message to the staff is that leaking it to the press is not how you handle it.”
The source added that Sanders slammed the culture of leaking as “selfish.”
“Sarah cares so much about the team, the cause, this country and this President,” another source told Axios. “Sarah did absolutely the right thing in condemning the remark but also condemning the selfish action.”
The White House still hasn’t issued an apology for Sadler’s remark. Sadler, who works for the White House communications team focusing on immigration, still remains on the job.
Meghan McCain, the Arizona Senator’s daughter, lashed out at the White House during a segment of ABC’s The View where she is a host.
“I don’t understand what kind of environment you’re working in where that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job,” she said.
Although Sadler hasn’t made a public statement on the matter, she has reportedly called Meghan McCain to apologize.
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