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Trump fires aide who joked about war hero John McCain

“Kelly Sadler is no longer employed within the Executive Office of the President,” read a brief statement by deputy White House spokesman Raj Shah.

world Updated: Jun 06, 2018 23:33 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,John McCain,Kelly Sadler
Donald Trump has sacked an aide who said cancer-stricken Senator John McCain’s opposition to a presidential nominee did not matter because “he’s dying anyway”.(Reuters Photo)

White House aide Kelly Sadler, who had mocked Republican Senator John McCain’s failing health over his opposition to then CIA director nominee Gina Haspel, has been fired.

“Kelly Sadler is no longer employed within the executive office of the President,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement .

But on Wednesday, presidential aide Kellyanne Conway indicated the administration could be open to considering Sadler for other positions. “There are other administration jobs open to her, and to others that would like to interview for those jobs.” she told CNN.

She went on to call Trump, in what appeared to be a slip of the tongue and one which she fixed right away, “commander of cheese … chief” (the title is commanded in chief).

Sadler, who was a member of the White House communications team, had quipped during a discussion on a then upcoming confirmation vote on Haspel that McCain’s opposition should be disregarded. “It doesn’t matter,” she had said reportedly, “he is dying anyway.”

Senator McCain is battling a particularly aggressive form of brain tumour and last appeared in the chamber in December.

He had opposed Haspel’s nomination for her role in the use of enhanced interrogation measures on terrorist suspects as head of a CIA black site in Thailand.

Haspel’s confirmation had seemed in jeopardy at one stage, forcing the White House to consider withdrawing her nomination. But it went through eventually.

Sadler’s remarks came under severe criticism from both sides of the aisle, but the White House had seemed unmoved largely to mounting calls for her ouster and an apology.

Trump’s own troubled relationship with McCain, who has been a strident critic, was blamed.

The White House seemed to turn the issue into one of leaks and reports suggested Sadler had accused her boss, Mercedes Schlapp, of leaking her remarks.

First Published: Jun 06, 2018 08:10 IST