McCain returns to cheers from GOP senators
Applause and whoops greeted Senator John McCain, who is battling brain cancer, as he returned to Washington DC to vote for moving ahead on legislation to dismantle Obamacare
On Tuesday the 80-year-old McCain had a visible scar above his left eye after doctors removed a blood clot earlier this month.
Days after the surgery, the senator disclosed that he had a brain tumour and had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
“Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio, TV and internet. To hell with them!” the feisty McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor.
He bemoaned the lack of legislative action in Congress. McCain also said he would not vote for the current GOP version of the repeal and replace bill.
McCain drew a standing ovation after his remarks. He had cast his vote to take up the healthcare bill, delivering for his party and President Donald Trump on the issue that’s defined the GOP for the past seven years.
“He’s tough as a boot,” said Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana.
“Many people understandably would be curled up in bed in the foetal position.”
McCain himself campaigned heavily on the Obamacare repeal issue last year as he won re-election to a sixth and almost certainly final Senate term.
The possibility of McCain returning had been discussed around the Capitol on Monday, yet the announcement from his office late in the day came as a surprise.
Nor did it guarantee success on Tuesday’s vote for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is managing a GOP caucus with almost no room for error in the closely divided Senate.
McCain has not been overly enthusiastic about the GOP health bill or the partisan process through which it’s emerged.
McCain’s best friend in the Senate Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and other colleagues who’ve spoken with McCain of late, say he’s been itching to get back to the Senate, impatient to return to work.
“Is it surprising that he would get out of a hospital bed and go to work? No,” Graham said Tuesday.