A White House official mocked Sen. John McCain, who is battling brain cancer, a day after McCain voiced his opposition to President Donald Trump‘s decision to nominate Gina Haspel to lead the CIA, according to U.S. media reports.
“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” communications aide Kelly Sadler said during a closed-door meeting, The Hill first reported, citing a source familiar with the meeting.
The Hill reported that the meeting carried on after Sadler’s comment, but not without some palpable discomfort in the room.
McCain’s wife Cindy tweeted a message, directed at Sadler, pointing out that her husband “has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren.”
CNN reported that Sadler later called Sen. McCain’s daughter Meghan to apologize for her remark.
McCain, a frequent critic of the Trump administration, urged the U.S. Senate to reject Haspel’s nomination over her role in overseeing the CIA’s torture program.
“I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”
The Arizona Republican was himself tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
He is also reported to have told people close to him that he doesn’t want Trump to attend his funeral.
Sadler worked as a reporter and editor for the conservative Washington Times for three years before joining President Trump’s staff in May 2017, according to her LinkedIn page. She has yet to comment on the matter.