US President Donald Trump has slammed White House “leakers” as “traitors” and vowed to hunt them down, days after it was revealed that a White House aide mocked “dying” Senator John McCain.
“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,” Trump tweeted Monday afternoon.
He also said that an investigation is taking place into who in the White House is sharing information with the media.
“With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!” he wrote.
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
The Hill reported on Thursday that White House special assistant Kelly Sadler mocked McCain in a closed-door meeting.
McCain, a veteran of the Vietnam War and Republican senator of Arizona who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, has urged his fellow Republicans to oppose Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel.
“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” Sadler said in the Thursday meeting, referring to McCain and his opposition to Haspel, according to The Hill.
Soon after the report of the derisive remark came out, McCain’s wife, Cindy, tweeted, “@kellysadler45 May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren.”
The White House, however, refused to apologize for the remarks.
White House spokesman Raj Shah said no apology would be offered, adding the issue is “being addressed internally."
"If you aren’t able, in internal meetings, to speak your mind or convey thoughts or say anything that you feel without feeling like your colleagues will betray you, that creates a very difficult work environment," he said, echoing Trump’s argument.
Republican Senator John Thune (S.D.) condemned the White House's response, saying it has worsened the situation.
"It's just a really unfortunate circumstance," Thune said. "Obviously what was said was very wrong and inappropriate. It would have been a lot easier if they had just nipped it right away ... Now it's [dragged] on for five days."
Senator McCain is vocal critic of Trump, who questioned McCain’s credentials as a “hero” in the Vietnam War, during which McCain served time as a POW.