A White House communications aide who came under fire for reportedly mocking Senator John McCain’s health has left the White House, an official says.
“Kelly Sadler is no longer employed within the Executive Office of the President,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement on Tuesday.
During a closed-door meeting of White House staff last month, Sadler allegedly said the Republican senator’s opposition to Gina Haspel, whom US President Donald Trump nominated to lead the CIA, did not matter because he was “dying anyway.”
The leaked remarks led to a torrent of criticism from Washington, but neither Trump nor his staff publicly rebuked Sadler.
McCain has undergone surgery and is receiving treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer. The 81-year-old has been at home in Arizona for months and has not returned to Capitol Hill this year.
Sadler apologized to the McCain family privately for her flippant comments later, but McCain’s daughter, Meghan, defended her father and asked for a public apology.
“When I had a conversation with Kelly, I asked her to publicly apologize and she said she would,” McCain said. “I have not spoken to her since and I assume that it will never come … this is not an administration that’s capable of apologizing.”
McCain’s daughter suggested on a TV program that the White House aide should lose her job.
“The thing that surprised me most is, I don’t understand what kind of environment you’re working in where that would be acceptable, and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job,” she said.
Sadler’s comments came after the Arizona senator urged fellow senators to reject Haspel’s nomination, saying her involvement in the CIA’s torture program should “disqualify her” from the top position.
US Senate, however, confirmed Haspel as the CIA’s first female director later in May.