According to multiple news outlets, White House aide Kelly Sadler responded to McCain’s opposition to Haspel’s nomination with the comment, “He’s dying anyway.”
The “joke… fell flat,” a source told CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Haspel’s controversial nomination has prompted Democrats and Republicans to raise concerns over her tenure at the agency, in particular her involvement in the CIA’s now-defunct torture program. McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War and is currently fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer, has vehemently opposed her nomination.
Soon after reports about the insulting attack, McCain’s wife took to Twitter to reach out to Sadler directly.
“May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren,” she wrote.
CNN later reported that Sadler called McCain’s daughter Meghan, who is a co-host on “The View,” to apologize for her comment.
Cindy McCain also came to her husband’s defense earlier on Thursday, when a guest on Fox Business praised torture as an interrogation method, claiming it “worked” on John McCain.
Host Charles Payne issued an apology after the show, saying he regretted not confronting his guest about his incendiary comment.
The White House also issued a statement in response to Sadler’s comment. While they didn’t reference the aide or her remark, the White House reiterated its respect for McCain’s service to the U.S.