Kelly Sadler leaves White House, official says; unclear if directly related to backlash over McCain comment

Kelly Sadler has left the White House where she served as a communications aide, officials confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday evening.

“Kelly Sadler is no longer employed within the Executive Office of the President," White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said in a statement.

It was unclear whether Sadler's departure was specifically tied to her comment about Arizona Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer, which triggered widespread backlash.

During a closed-door meeting in May with about two dozen White House communications staffers, Sadler was overheard talking about McCain's opposition to President Trump’s pick to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, saying that his opinion is irrelevant because "he’s dying anyway.”

McCain, 81, was diagnosed last year with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Sadler's comment about Sen. John McCain, who has brain cancer, triggered backlash.

Sadler's comment about Sen. John McCain, who has brain cancer, triggered backlash. (AP, File)

Neither Sadler nor the White House issued a public apology for the remark even after it attracted widespread condemnation. Sadler reportedly called McCain's daughter, Meghan, to privately apologize.

Speaking on ABC's "The View" last week, Meghan McCain briefly discussed the episode.

"I was promised an apology by Kelly Sadler, publicly, to my family," she said. "I did not receive that."


The news of Sadler's departure came shortly after Fox News learned that several White House communications staffers were informed in closed-door meetings that a major purge of their ranks was imminent.

Chief of Staff John Kelly and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway were among those who delivered the news to staffers in mid-May, sources told Fox News.

Senior officials in the White House communications office also decided to cancel the large morning communications team meetings, attended by lower-ranking staffers, in an apparent effort to clamp down on leaks.

Fox News' John Roberts and Serafin Gomez contributed to this report.