The White House is pushing back against calls to fire communications staffer Kelly Sadler after insensitive comments about John McCain promptly leaked to the press.
After the cancer-stricken Arizona Senator urged the Senate to reject Gina Haspel’s nomination for CIA director, calling her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality “disqualifying,” Sadler reportedly said “[i]t doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.“
Instead of firing Sadler, the White House went on the offensive – as several senior officials, including chief of staff John Kelly and Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway have held closed-door meetings to lay down the law to junior staffers whose jobs are all at risk.
On Monday, President Trump came out with a serious warning for White House leakers, tweeting “leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!”
The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible. With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2018
“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,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders earlier in the week. “We’ve fired people over leaking before.”
Rumors have been circulating over who is responsible for the leak, and chatter about aides looking for the exits has picked up, though previous declarations of crackdowns did not yield shake-ups or end the leaks.
National Security Adviser John Bolton said that some leakers were “national security risks” and said Kelly was organizing an effort to cut them down. –Business Insider
“The president has to have advisers around him who can have open candid discussions and then not read about him the next day in the newspapers or watch them on television,” Bolton said in an appearance on Fox News Radio.
Meanwhile, the White House communications team has canceled its daily staff meeting following the leak. Instead, a smaller group of staffers met on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday instead of the 30 participants usually in attendance.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the leaks were coming from “a couple of bad actors,” and that they will fire anyone who continues 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.”
Kellyanne Conway said in a Monday appearance on Fox News that there may be a staff shakeup at the White House, so watch out leakers…
Conway ends interview by remarking that she expects White House personnel changes as a result of the sort of leaks Trump denounced on Twitter this afternoon pic.twitter.com/TAiweTNd6W
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 14, 2018