'It doesn't matter, he's dying anyway': WH aide on John McCain

PHOTO: Arizona Sen. John McCain receives the Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Oct. 16, 2017. PlayMatt Rourke/AP FILE
WATCH Meghan McCain responds to White House aide's remark about her father

A White House aide has sparked backlash after dismissing Sen. John McCain's opposition to CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel by saying, "It doesn't matter, he's dying anyway."

Interested in John McCain?

Add John McCain as an interest to stay up to date on the latest John McCain news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Add Interest

McCain, 81, is in Arizona battling brain cancer. McCain's office declined to comment Thursday on the aide's remarks.

Sources confirmed to ABC News the comment was made by communications aide Kelly Sadler and the White House did not deny the story, first reported in The Hill. Sadler did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by ABC News or The Hill.

The White House said in a statement, "We respect Sen. McCain’s service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time.”

The remark drew the attention of McCain's wife, Cindy, who tweeted at Sadler, "May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren."

PHOTO: President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowds applause during a Republican campaign rally, May 10, 2018, in Elkhart, Ind. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd's applause during a Republican campaign rally, May 10, 2018, in Elkhart, Ind.

Haspel weighed in with a statement Thursday night, saying "I have the utmost respect for Sen. McCain and I appreciate the thoughtfulness with which he has approached this nomination process.”

Separately, a U.S. official said, “These comments are despicable, vile and completely unacceptable.”

President Donald Trump has mocked McCain in the past, while McCain has criticized the president and his policies.

PHOTO: CIA director nominee Gina Haspel testifies at her Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.,May 9, 2018.Jeff Malet via Newscom
CIA director nominee Gina Haspel testifies at her Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.,May 9, 2018.

The confirmation vote for Haspel could be close.

In a statement Wednesday evening, McCain said he believes Haspel is a “patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense.”

“However,” McCain continued, “Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”

He added: “I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.”

PHOTO: Cindy McCain, during her appearance on ABCs The View,February 28, 2018.Lou Rocco/ABC
Cindy McCain, during her appearance on ABC's "The View",February 28, 2018.

McCain's daughter Meghan McCain is a co-host on ABC's "The View."

ABC News' Luis Martinez and Mariam Khan contributed to this report.

Comments