Kelly Sadler, the White House communications aide who mocked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as “dying” during a closed-door meeting last month, has left the White House.
CNN reported the news citing three unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter.
CNN didn’t specify when Sadler’s administration role ended. As a communications aide, Sadler regularly sent reporters emails filled with administration talking points and articles about border security and undocumented immigration. TPM last received an email from Sadler — it contained the text of a Daily Caller article — on Monday.
Sadler reportedly said during a May meeting of White House communications staffers that McCain’s opposition to CIA Director Gina Haspel’s nomination didn’t matter “because he’s dying anyway.” McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, has said that Sadler later promised her a public apology for making light of her father’s brain cancer. That public apology never came.
The Trump administration appeared angrier at the leak than Sadler’s comment.
Budget director Mick Mulvaney called the comment “awful” but a “joke” and said he was “really disappointed that someone would undermine the President by leaking that out of a private meeting.”
“If you aren’t able in internal meetings to speak your mind, or convey thoughts or say anything that you feel without feeling like your colleagues will betray you, that creates a very difficult work environment,” principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said at a press briefing two days later.
American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, whose wife Mercedes is the White House’s director of strategic communications, called Sadler “a little bit of a victim here.”
President Donald Trump reportedly demanded that whoever leaked Sadler’s joke be fired.
A week after that report, from ProPublica, Axios detailed a meeting between Trump, Sadler and several other staffers. Trump reportedly told Sadler he wouldn’t fire her for her remarks and then asked for the names of White House leakers.
Mercedes Schlapp, despite saying “I stand with Kelly Sadler” a day after the “dying” story broke, was reportedly first on Sadler’s list, followed by several others.
This post has been updated.