WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Trump communications aide who joked about U.S. Senator John McCain’s battle with brain cancer has left her White House job, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday.
During an internal meeting last month, White House aide Kelly Sadler dismissed McCain’s objection to President Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director by saying it “doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” a source familiar with the meeting told Reuters.
Sadler’s remarks were widely condemned. The White House refused to confirm or deny whether Sadler had said them.
“Kelly Sadler is no longer employed within the Executive Office of the President,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.
McCain, 81, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer last year. He has been receiving treatment in his home state of Arizona and has been absent from the Senate for months.
McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, had released a statement after CIA nominee Gina Haspel’s Senate confirmation hearing, denouncing her for refusing to condemn torture. He recommended that his fellow senators vote against her, but the Senate confirmed Haspel 54 to 45.
McCain has been a frequent critic of Trump. In 2015, Trump denigrated the former Navy flier’s military service, telling a gathering of religious conservatives, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
(Reporting by Steve Holland Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Toni Reinhold)