Following a report that a White House aide made a derisive comment about John McCain’s health, the Republican Senator’s wife Cindy McCain responded on Twitter in defense of her husband, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year.
The Hill reported Thursday that Kelly Sadler, a special assistant to President Donald Trump, said during a closed-door meeting of about two dozen White House staffers that McCain’s criticism “doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”
Sadler’s comment was reportedly made during a discussion about McCain’s opposition to President Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, and were relayed to the Hill by a source familiar with remarks made at the meeting.
The White House did not deny Sadler’s remarks, the Hill reports.
“We respect Senator McCain’s service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time,” the White House said in a statement to the Hill.
Sadler reportedly called McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, to apologize, according to The Hill.
Formerly a deputy opinion editor at the Washington Post, Sadler now files press releases from the White House focusing on immigration, the Hill reports.
Haspel, Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, has come under scrutiny for her role in the use of harsh interrogation tactics in the wake of terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
As a former prisoner of war who was tortured in Vietnam, McCain urged Senators to reject Haspel’s nomination, saying “her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”
McCain is undergoing treatment for glioblastoma, a rare brain cancer.