One senator suggested that John McCain’s brain tumor may have been a factor in his July vote against Obamacare repeal – remarks that he walked back just a day later. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told a radio host on Tuesday that McCain’s cancer, combined with the late night of debate and voting may have affected the Arizona Republican’s judgment.
“Again, I’m not going to speak for John McCain — he has a brain tumor right now — that vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning, some of that might have factored in,” Johnson said on AM560 “Chicago’s Morning Answer.”
Seemingly shocked, a radio host responded “really?” to Johnson’s comments and asked if he really believed McCain’s brain tumor might have factored into his judgment.
“Again, I-I-I don’t know exactly what — we really thought — and again I don’t want speak for any senator,” Johnson responded. “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 have talk to John in terms what was on his mind.”
A McCain spokesperson called Johnson’s remarks “bizarre and unfortunate,” and by Wednesday, Johnson was backtracking, stating that he was, “disappointed I didn’t more eloquently express my sympathy for what Sen. McCain is going through.”
He elaborated on CNN on Thursday when he told host Chris Cuomo:
“I was just expressing sympathy for his condition. Again, I’ve got the greatest respect for John McCain. He’s not impaired in any way, shape or form.”
Johnson said he has reached out to McCain and hoped to speak with him soon.
McCain made a return to the Senate specifically to vote on Obamacare repeal after surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye, which led to the brain tumor diagnosis.
Was Johnson simply not artful in his remarks, or did he really believe that McCain’s judgment is clouded by his condition? It’s hard to say, but I’ll bet the first meeting between the two following this incident will be pretty awkward.