Sen. Lindsey Graham on Saturday called a White House aide's attack on Sen. John McCain "a disgusting thing to say" — adding that he was dissatisfied with the Trump administration's response to the controversy.
"If it was a joke, it was a terrible joke," the South Carolina Republican told "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan for an interview to air Sunday on CBS News.
"I just wish somebody from the White House would tell the country that was inappropriate, that's not who we are in the Trump administration.
"John McCain can be criticized for any political decision he's ever made or any vote he’s ever cast, but he's an American hero," Graham said of the ailing Arizona senator and longtime friend.
"I think most Americans would like to see the Trump administration do better in situations like this.
"It doesn't hurt you at all to do the right thing and to be big," he said.
White House aide Kelly Sadler said Thursday that "it doesn't matter; he's dying anyway" during a private meeting with other communication officers as they discussed McCain's opposition to Gina Haspel as CIA director.
The White House has not denied the reports, and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that Sadler was at work.
McCain, 81, who is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, opposed Haspel's nomination Wednesday after she testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The senator's daughter, Meghan McCain, has urged people not to feel bad for her or her family in light of Sadler's remark.
Graham was interviewed by Brennan from Israel, where he is leading a congressional delegation to the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.
He and McCain serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which McCain chairs.
However, Graham declined to say whether President Donald Trump should apologize for Sadler's remark.
"I'll leave that up to him," he told Brennan, "but if somebody in my office said such a thing about somebody, I would apologize on behalf of the office."
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