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Republican Senator Suggests John McCain's Cancer Affected His Health Care Vote

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On Tuesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) suggested John McCain’s (R-AZ) cancer had an effect on his vote against the GOP’s proposed “skinny” repeal of Obamacare.

McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer, last month. He returned to Congress 11 days after a routine procedure to remove a blood clot above his left eye at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.

In an interview on Chicago’s Morning Answer, Johnson said, “I’m not going to speak for John McCain, you know, he has a brain tumor right now, that vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning, some of that might have factored in.”

Surprised by Johnson’s comments, the program’s host asked Johnson whether he thought cancer “played a factor in his judgment call.” To which Johnson replied:

Again, I don’t know exactly what — we really thought that — and again I don’t want speak for any senator. I really thought John was going to vote yes to send that to conference at 10:30 at night.

By about 1, 1:30, he voted no, so you’d have talk to John for what was on his mind.

On Wednesday, Johnson issued a statement regarding his remarks. “I’m disappointed I didn’t more eloquently express my sympathy for what Sen. McCain is going through. I have nothing but respect for him and the vote came at the end of a long day for everyone.”

McCain spokeswoman Julie Tarallo followed up on Johnson’s comments with CNN stating, “It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Senator Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend. Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote.”

“I will not vote for this bill as it is today,” McCain said in a speech following the first motion to proceed with repealing Obamacare. “It’s a shell of a bill right now, we all know that.”

“Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order. We’ve been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle,” McCain added, ending his speech with a call for both parties to come together on a bill that would pass with bipartisan support.

Originally published: August 9, 2017
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