How John McCain Contributed To His Own Abuse At The Hands of The Totally Predictable Mobbed-Up, Sociopathic Cruelty Of The Trump Administration
Kelly Sadler, D.C.-based comic who specializes in brain cancer jokes.
Everyone by now knows the name of Kelly Sadler, the White House aide who is the apparent "victim” of people “leaking” the actual words that come out of her mouth.
Sadler, like all of us at some point, apparently made a "badly considered joke that fell flat," but unlike most of us who are mammals, the “joke” was about the deteriorating health of Senator John McCain.
Kelly Sadler's awful, inhuman "joke" about Senator John McCain
This is a horrible thing to say, but perfectly in character for horrible people working in a horrible administration that promotes horrible policies.
But I must object to the media’s blind acceptance that Sadler’s statement was just a "bad joke" in poor taste. There’s no evidence that Sadler said, “Knock Knock? (Who’s There?) John McCain! (John McCain Who?) John McCain’s Dying… Thanks, folks, tip your servers, God, I’m Gross!” No, she was making a coldly calculated observation about how the Trump administration’s political fortunes would demonstrably improve once McCain was out of the way. It’s the political equivalent of a protection racket shakedown: “Nice fair-trade coffee shop ya got here, shame if it caught fire in the middle of the night and burned to the ground” is neither a joke nor a gentle reminder to check the batteries in your smoke detectors, it’s extortion.
For legal purposes, I should clarify that I don’t believe Sadler was suggesting anyone “knock off” McCain but I do think the Trump White House is not that far removed in moral turpitude from an organized crime family, sitting around discussing how to handle a troublesome witness when the “consigliere” or whatever shrugs and says, “Why bother? They’ll be dead before it gets to trial… totally due to natural causes. I mean, she's an old lady and it's been a tough winter."
I’m also bored of the response from the media and Democrats, who insist on pretending that the Trump White House is like any other lousy Republican administration that is at some level capable of shame and other human-approximate emotions. There’s literally an article each day where someone claims it’s “beyond their comprehension” that Sadler still has her job or that the White House hasn’t publicly apologized. Oh, here’s today’s:
Bernie Sanders shocks easily.
Imagine if The Exorcist was just two hours of Ellen Burstyn expressing constant surprise that Linda Blair was projectile vomiting at people and spinning her head around without Burstyn ever calling in Max von Sydow. “It’s just beyond my comprehension that my daughter’s crudely pleasuring herself with a crucifix. That’s not how non-possessed-by-Satan daughters should behave.” Would anyone have sat through this? But that’s what we’re forced to endure with every new Trump outrage.
“This is rock bottom!” declared Joe Biden with all the certainty of middle-aged music critics thirty years ago about Madonna: “That’s it. She’s done! It’s literally impossible to shock audiences more than wearing a cone-shaped bra. You’d have to release a book of naughty photos literally titled SEX. And who does that?”
So, the Trump White House will continue to “shock” and continue to find another level to sink below the currently declared “rock bottom” because no one wants to believe how truly awful they all are.
And while McCain doesn't deserve this treatment, he's not entirely blameless for why he's on the receiving end of it. He tepidly endorsed this mess and then at the eleventh hour retracted the endorsement but still refused to publicly support Hillary Clinton, instead writing in Mickey Mouse or his own name (c’mon, we know the latter is what actually happened). I totally respect someone enduring five years of brutal torture, but it’s just really disappointing when that same person can’t “endure” pulling the lever for a woman Democrat no matter what his country club pals might think.
This is the same John McCain who thought Sarah Palin was temperamentally and intellectually and morally and experientially qualified to stand even Usain Bolt's resting heartbeat away from the presidency. Well, actually, he didn’t. He thought Joe Lieberman was, but he caved to pressure from Christian conservatives and chose Palin because… it’s still uncertain. Maybe she was the only one home?
Steve Schmidt defended his former boss in a blistering attack on the Trump White House, describing the current president as “small and vile and mean and cruel and narcissistic.” This is all true, but it’s also true of Palin, who during the 2008 presidential campaign offered a repulsive preview of the “Obama isn’t like you and me — wink, wink, nudge, nudge, I’m racist” rhetoric that would prove the foundation of right-wing media’s coverage of the Obama presidency. It also paved the way for Trump’s ridiculous “Obama wasn’t born in the US and also helped fake the moon landing when he was 8” conspiracy theory, which no prominent Republican ever convincingly denounced.
Palin, who no one outside Alaska and Wonkette would know without McCain, willingly endorsed Trump — a man who ridiculed McCain’s time as a POW. Though given how deranged her endorsement speech was, it's possible she was trying to do McCain a solid and sabotage Trump's campaign from the inside.
If McCain had truly been a “maverick” in 2016 and defied both Trump and his party, endorsing Hillary Clinton and perhaps even denying Trump a win in his home state (Arizona was closer than Ohio), he could’ve ended his career on a far more positive note than being mocked by Trump’s gang of hate. And if Clinton had won, it’s highly likely McCain would’ve been on the short list for Secretary of State or Ambassador to Someplace Tropical. At the very least, no one in a Clinton White House would’ve “joked” about McCain’s eventual succumbing to brain cancer while placing their lunch order from a DC deli.
Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."