Meghan McCain -- and her TV family on The View -- are not happy after a Trump administration official reportedly mocked John McCain's brain cancer diagnosis during a closed-door meeting at the White House

By Tierney McAfee
May 11, 2018 11:51 AM
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Sen. John McCain‘s family was outraged after a Trump administration official reportedly mocked his brain cancer diagnosis during a closed-door meeting at the White House. Now his daughter Meghan McCain — and her TV family on The View — are taking aim at White House special assistant Kelly Sadler for her “despicable” comments.

Meghan, 33, a co-host on The View, has been taking time off from the show to spend time with her father and family in Arizona. But she was there front and center on Friday with a “news flash” for Sadler, who reportedly said of McCain’s opposition to President Donald Trump‘s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel: “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”

“Kelly, there’s a little news flash and this may be a bit intense for 11 o’clock in the morning on a Friday, but we’re all dying. I’m dying, you’re dying, we’re all dying,” Meghan said.

“And I want to say that, since my dad has been diagnosed the past — it’s almost a year, July 19 … I really feel like I understand the meaning of life. And it is not how you die. It’s how you live.”

McCain, 81, was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2017 after undergoing a surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye last summer. He was hospitalized in December to treat side effects related to his cancer therapy. More recently, McCain underwent surgery in April after contracting an intestinal infection.

Meghan’s co-hosts rallied around her on Friday, with Whoopi Goldberg calling Sadler’s comments “insanely despicable” and Sara Haines saying, “Meghan, I admire the class. I was not as classy when I heard it. I was taking my earrings off, I was watching it on the news and I went mama hen on that TV.”

“You would have been really impressed with my vocabulary,” Haines added to Meghan, who laughed.

Meghan McCain
| Credit: ABC

But Meghan made it clear that no one should “feel bad for me or my family.”

“We’re really strong and there’s so much more love and prayer and amazing energy being generated towards us than anything negative at all,” she said. “And I feel so blessed. My dad’s actually doing really well right now and I believe in the power of prayer, and I think it’s helping.”

The White House responded to Sadler’s comments Thursday in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, saying, “We respect Senator McCain’s Service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time.”

McCain’s wife, Cindy, 63, also criticized Sadler on Thursday, tweeting, “@kellysadler45 May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren.” Meghan later retweeted her mother’s message.

On The View Friday, Meghan praised her father for being “all about character and bipartisanship and something greater than yourself and believing in this country and believing in the fact that we, as Americans, can still come together.”

“And that’s something I grew up in and it feeds me every day. I’m not scared of death anymore. I’m just not,” she said.

She also took aim at the “environment” in the Trump White House that would allow Sadler to make such remarks about McCain.

“The thing that surprises me most is, 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,” Meghan said. “And that’s all I have to say about it.”

The co-hosts also played a clip of Fox Business Network host Charles Payne’s interview with Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney on Thursday. The two discussed McCain’s opposition to Haspel, which is based in part on her past and possible continued support of torture as a form of interrogation.

McInerney argued that the method worked on McCain himself when he was a prisoner of war.

“The fact is, is John McCain — it worked on John,” McInerney said. “That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.’ ”

Payne later issued an apology on Twitter, saying he should have challenged the comments.

The View‘s Sunny Hostin called the comments “horrible” and said, “To hear that from a service member … I say, shame on you.”

“It’s a really ugly nickname … it was a hard day yesterday,” Meghan said.

But, she added, “My father’s legacy is going to be talked about for hundreds and hundreds of years. These people? Nothingburgers. Nobody’s going to remember you.”