White House aide calls Senator John McCain irrelevant because he's dying

John McCain.
John McCain. Photo credit: Reuters.

US Senator John McCain's daughter has questioned how the aide who disparaged her ailing father during a White House meeting still has a job there.

Kelly Sadler, a White House communications aide, dismissed Senator McCain's objection to President Donald Trump's nominee to be CIA director, Gina Haspel, by saying it "doesn't matter, he's dying anyway", a source familiar with the closed White House meeting told Reuters.

Speaking on ABC TV programme The View, which she co-hosts, Meghan McCain said she wanted to inform Ms Sadler her father's battle with brain cancer has made her realise the meaning of life was "not how you die, it is how you live".

"I don't understand what kind of environment you're working in when that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job," she said on Friday.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said later that Ms Sadler still worked there and refused to confirm or deny what Ms Sadler had said.

Mr McCain, who has spent the past several weeks convalescing at his home in Arizona as he battles brain cancer, released a statement after Ms Haspel's Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday, slamming her for refusing to condemn torture and recommending his fellow senators vote against her.

Mr McCain was tortured as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, suffering injuries from which he has never completely recovered.

Several of Mr McCain's fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill were among those to condemn Ms Sadler's remarks.

Ms Sadler's comments were reported the same day that a guest on Fox Business Network, retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney suggested Ms McCain divulged critical information to the North Vietnamese after being tortured.

He did not elaborate or provide evidence to back up his claim.

A network spokesperson said Mr McInerney would no longer be invited to appear on the Fox Business Network or Fox News.