Kelly Sadler
White House aide Kelly Sadler attends a forum called Generation Next at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

According to a report by Axios, White House staffer Kelly Sadler, who drew widespread bipartisan criticism for her insensitive remarks about Sen. John McCain, accused her boss White House strategic communications director Mercedes Schlapp of leaking information to the press.

Remarking about McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis and the fact that the senator came out against the Trump administration’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, Sadler said it “doesn't matter, he's dying anyway.” The comments were leaked to the public and Axios reported a meeting with President Donald Trump and a group of communications staffers was convened in the Oval Office, according to sources familiar with the event.

Present at the meeting along with the president was Sadler, Schlapp, deputy press secretary Raj Shah and chief of staff John Kelly. When Trump asked Sadler who the culprit for leaking information to the press was, she put the blame squarely on to her boss Schlapp.

Schlapp, according to the report, “pushed back aggressively and defended herself in the room.” The report said Schlapp was also defended by other White House officials, in the meeting and after.

The White House issued no form of apology with regards to the insensitive comments. Business Insider reported Haspel was confirmed to the Senate on May 17 without a vote from McCain.

Meanwhile, Trump assured Sadler the remark would not result in her firing, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the communications team she was more disappointed in the fact that the comment got leaked to the press than the actual remark itself.

“I am sure this conversation is going to leak, too. And that’s just disgusting,” Sanders said.

Sanders’ comment would end up being prophetic as ABC News did report it, soon after. Schlapp had actually defended her accuser Sadler prior to being accused.

“You can put this on the record... I stand with Kelly Sadler,” Schlapp had said.

The ABC report pointed out the latest leaks added to the sense of paranoia in the West Wing.

Jonathan Swan writing for Axios, said: “A source in the room for Friday's meeting, defending Sanders, told me she made a point of immediately saying Sadler’s comment was wrong but her point was that these issues should be litigated internally and airing grievances through the press inflicts immense damage on the White House.”

“No one is condoning the remark,” the source, defending Sanders, added. “The message to the staff is that leaking it to the press is not how you handle it.’”

Swan’s article further stated: “Another source added: ‘Sarah cares so much about the team, the cause, this country and this President. Sarah did absolutely the right thing in condemning the remark but also condemning the selfish action.’”

Leaks from within the White House to the press have plagued the Trump administration since its genesis.