False news of ailing US Senator John McCain's death sent to media by NGO; organisation apologises for goof-up

Washington: Non-profit organisation, Veterans of Foreign Wars, has mistakenly emailed a drafted press release announcing the death of US Senator John McCain, who has been recovering from a surgery and continues to battle an aggressive form of brain cancer, media reported.

File image of US Senator John McCain. Reuters

File image of US Senator John McCain. Reuters

The veterans service group on Friday accidentally suggested that the Arizona senator had passed away, sending out a draft email to reporters with a subject line that read, "VFW Remembers Senator John McCain", Fox News reported.

McCain, 81, has been in recovery at his Sedona ranch after his hospitalisation in December 2017.

The email obtained by The Washington Times began with an obvious piece of boilerplate material: "WASHINGTON (Month xx, 2018)."

"The 1.7 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US and its Auxiliary are saluting the life of one of their own, US Senator John S. McCain III, who died (today/yesterday) after battling brain cancer," the body of the email read.

VRW told the Times that the email was inadvertently sent out by the group's public affairs division.

"It was a mistake, and for that I apologise to all recipients and most especially to the McCain family," said Joe Davis, VFW director of communications.

McCain, who has been a member of the VFW for 32 years, has been at the heart of a fair amount of controversy this week.

On Thursday, reports emerged that a White House communications official, Kelly Sadler, had made a dark joke at a meeting in which McCain's opposition to a CIA directorship nomination by President Donald Trump was discussed. "It doesn't matter, he's dying anyway," Sadler's comment went, according to reports.

Cindy McCain, the senator's wife, fired back on Twitter on Thursday, reminding Sadler of the human side of politics.

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday said that "decency" in the White House had hit "rock bottom" following the White House aide's joke, CNN reported. "People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday (Thursday)," Biden said in a striking statement.

 


Updated Date: May 12, 2018 09:31 AM

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