Most Americans rightfully view Sen. John McCain as a genuine war hero and American icon. That view is not shared by President Donald Trump’s supporters, it would appear. Kelly Sadler, a special assistant to the presidend, is under fire for telling staff that they should laugh off McCain’s opposition to Gina Haspel as CIA director over her record of torture because his opinion “doesn’t matter” since “he’s dying anyway.” On Fox Business, Thomas McInerney, a former Fox News military analyst, rebuked McCain by saying torture clearly “worked for John” and that is why is calling “Songbird John” for cracking under torture.
McCain, 81, is suffering from incurable brain cancer. His wife issued a statement that was short and lethal for Sadler (who later called to apologize):
McInerney’s comments to Charles Payne has led him to be barred from any further appearances on Fox and Payne has apologized.
I have long shared McCain’s view of waterboarding and I do not support the Haspel nomination on that basis, including her destruction of tapes when investigations began into the torture program (To his credit, Trump at least is honest and refers to waterboarding as torture, but insists that he supports the use of torture). However, this is a more fundamental problem of civility and decency. The sheer hatred and anger often vented in our public debate is chilling. People no longer listen to others or care about how their words can be hurtful or hateful. We are losing not just our collective demeanor but our decency as a nation in these divisive political times.