Kelly Sadler, a special assistant to President Donald Trump, is under fire after she was accused of saying of U.S. Senator John McCain in an internal meeting: “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”
The alleged comment about McCain, who has brain cancer, was made during a discussion about the Arizona senator’s opposition to Trump nominee Gina Haspel as CIA director, The Hill reported. The comment has caused a firestorm on social media. Who is Kelly Sadler? On Twitter, she defines herself as “@WhiteHouse Special Assistant to @POTUS.”
Kelly Sadler is no longer at the White House, it was revealed on June 5, 2018, although it’s not clear why she left.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sadler Was an Opinion Writer for The Washington Times & Sends Out Anti Illegal Immigration Emails
Kelly Sadler used to be known as Kelly Riddell and is sometimes called Kelly Riddell Sadler. She “is a former columnist and commentary writer for The Washington Times,” according to that conservative newspaper’s website.
Her financial disclosure says she made about $73,000 in that job.
Her LinkedIn page states that she worked for The Washington Times for four years and five months. She worked on a campaign blog called “Trail Tales” as an investigative reporter and editor, the page states.
The Weekly Standard reported in April 2018 that Sadler was sending out anti-immigration emails for the White House that said things like “Previously Deported Mexican National Convicted of Raping 9-Year-Old Girl in Sanctuary City” and “U.S. PERMANENTLY RESETTLED NEARLY 142K BANGLADESHI NATIONALS ON BASIS OF FAMILIAL TIES.” The Weekly Standard reported that the messages “come direct from the White House, sent from an official government email address. They are the work of Kelly Sadler, the ‘Director of Surrogate & Coalitions Outreach’ in the White House communications office.”
The Weekly Standard added, “Her sensationalist headlines make it into conservative media, which the president himself digests and responds to, leading to more sensationalist headlines.”
2. Sadler Has Worked for President Trump for a Year & Cindy McCain Reminded Sadler That McCain Has Children
According to Her LinkedIn page, Sadler has worked as Special Assistant To the President in the Office of Communications in the White House since May 2017. ProPublica noted that Sadler, in her last column for The Washington Times, wrote about the president, saying, “So long as Mr. Trump continues to spur the economy and people’s confidence in it, what they think of him will fall to the wayside.”
Sadler allegedly called McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, after news stories about the comment broke, but the conversation “did not go well,” according to a Politico reporter. Meghan McCain also spoke about the matter on May 11.
Cindy McCain, McCain’s wife, wrote on Twitter to Sadler on May 10, 2018, “May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren.”
3. Sadler Worked as a Reporter for Bloomberg & Her Husband Ran Carly Fiorina’s Campaign
Before working for The Washington Times, Sadler was a freelance columnist for more than five years, was a reporter at Bloomberg for four years and nine months, and was a managing consultant at a firm called Kaiser Associates, according to her LinkedIn page.
Her husband, Frank Sadler, has a partnership share in MLJ Consulting (Public Relations Consulting), her government financial disclosure said, and received a salary from “Carly for President,” the Carly Fiorina presidential campaign. He reported a real estate holding, treasury bond, and some stocks.
According to Breitbart, Frank Sadler “managed Carly Fiorina’s 2016 presidential campaign.” Fiorina ran as a Republican in the primary and was defeated by Donald Trump.
Frank Sadler’s LinkedIn page says he was Fiorina’s chief of staff as well as campaign manager. He previously worked as executive director of the Unlocking Potential Project, as chief operating officer for a company named Cove Strategies, and for U.S. Senator George Allen.
Kelly Sadler wrote about Fiorina on the presidential campaign trail for The Washington Times. An editor’s note on one story read, “Political reporter Kelly Riddell’s husband, Frank Sadler, is the campaign manager for Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina.” In May 2015, Sadler donated $2,700 to Fiorina’s campaign, according to federal records.
4. Sadler Has a Degree in Broadcast Journalism & Studied Chinese But Was Once Criticized by Breitbart
Sadler has a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University, graduating in 2007, according to her LinkedIn page. She attended Johns-Hopkins SAIS and has a BA in Chinese and international relations from Hamilton College. (Sadler’s husband also has a degree from Hamilton College in economics and political science).
Her Facebook page says she attended Oneonta Senior High School. She posted a photo of three small children on social media.
Sadler previously ran into controversy with Breitbart, the conservative outlet affiliated with former White House adviser Steve Bannon. “Kelly Sadler, a low-level staffer in the White House, lied about her credentials to push inaccurate leaked information to the press about the resignation of Dr. Sebastian Gorka from the administration,” a Breitbart story alleged in August 2017.
5. Some Felt Sadler Was Joking But It Fell Flat
According to The Hill, the White House didn’t deny that Sadler made the comment about McCain but responded, when asked for comment, “We respect Senator McCain’s service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time.”
Some believed Sadler meant the remark as a joke, according to CNN’s Jim Acosta, but it “fell flat.” Specifically, McCain has a glioblastoma, also referred to as GBM. This type of cancer is usually found in the cerebral hemisphere (the part that controls muscle functions) of the brain. On social media and elsewhere, many have expressed outrage at the comment.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders reportedly called Sadler’s comment unacceptable during another internal staff meeting but excoriated the leaking. Sadler hasn’t been fired.