US President Donald Trump has sacked an aide who reportedly joked about US Senator John McCain's battle with brain cancer.

During an internal meeting last month, White House aide Kelly Sadler dismissed Mr McCain's objection to Mr Trump's pick for CIA director by saying it "doesn't matter, he's dying anyway".

Ms Sadler's remarks were widely condemned.

The White House refused to confirm or deny whether Sadler had said them.

However, last night deputy White House spokesman Raj Shah said: "Kelly Sadler is no longer employed within the Executive Office of the President."

Mr McCain, 81, had indicated he opposed the nomination of now CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel over her role in enhanced interrogation techniques under president George W Bush.

The Arizona senator, who was held prisoner and tortured during the Vietnam War, is battling brain cancer.

CNN had quoted a White House official as saying Ms Sadler, speaking at a staff meeting, meant the comment as a joke but that it flopped.

Another extraordinary attack against Mr McCain that stunned Washington came around the same time from a fellow veteran, retired US Air Force lieutenant general Thomas McInerney.

He said torture worked because it made Mr McCain spill sensitive information to his captors during his years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The attacks, remarkable for their bluntness, triggered swift reaction from across the political spectrum, with politicians demanding an apology from Mr Trump that never came.

Meghan McCain, a conservative commentator on ABC's popular morning talk show "The View," delivered a defence of her father.

"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 at the time.

Her father was "all about character and bipartisanship and something greater than yourself," Ms McCain said.

Members of Congress also rallied behind their ailing, war-hero colleague.

Mr Trump, for his part, once mocked Mr McCain's war service, saying during the presidential campaign that "I like people that weren't captured."