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White House aide Kelly Sadler who made joke about John McCain departs White House

| Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 7:57 p.m.
Special assistant to President Trump, Kelly Sadler attends a forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington.
Associated Press
Special assistant to President Trump, Kelly Sadler attends a forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington.

Kelly Sadler, the White House communications aide who made a morbid joke about Arizona Sen. John McCain, was quietly let go from the Trump administration Tuesday.

Sadler made damning headlines after she said during a closed-door staff meeting May 10 that McCain's opposition to President Trump's CIA director nominee Gina Haspel didn't matter because he's "dying anyway."

The White House refused to apologize for Sadler's shocking comment about the brain cancer-stricken Republican, only saying it would handle the matter internally.

Finally, on Tuesday evening, deputy press secretary Raj Shah confirmed Sadler "is no longer employed" at the White House. Shah didn't elaborate on the reason for Sadler's departure.

The White House has been plotting an exit for Sadler for weeks, sources told CNN. There were talks about Sadler being relocated to another federal agency, but it remained unclear Tuesday evening if she was going elsewhere or leaving for good, the sources said.

Sadler's insensitive comment about McCain set off an administration-wide scandal about leaking.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders berated the White House press and communications staff after Sadler's comments were leaked to several media outlets. Sanders notably never apologized for Sadler's remark.

The leak also prompted finger-pointing and hostile confrontations within the administration, according to reports.

Trump gathered a small group of communications staffers in the Oval Office, including Sadler, and reportedly asked her who she thought was leaking to journalists. Sadler identified a number of officials, including strategic communications director Mercedes Schlapp, who in turn privately blasted Sadler as "a [expletive]," according to reports.

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