GOP Senator Backtracks After Odd Comments on McCain's Tumor

Ron Johnson implied tumor might have been factor in McCain's repeal vote
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2017 4:32 PM CDT
GOP Senator Backtracks After Odd Comments on McCain's Tumor
In this July 27, 2017 file photo, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. listens as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A GOP senator is backtracking after controversial comments about John McCain Tuesday. Speaking about the Senate's failure to pass a bill repealing ObamaCare on the AM560 radio show Chicago's Morning Answer, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said, "I'm not gonna 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." In response to the host's incredulous "really?" Johnson replied, "Again, I-I-I don't know exactly what—we really thought—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 have talk to John in terms what was on his mind."

But Johnson was singing a different tune in a statement Wednesday in which he said he's "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." The statement came after Johnson's original words caused a bit of an uproar, with a McCain spokesperson calling them "bizarre and deeply unfortunate," CNN reports. Politico notes that there was also backlash against Johnson on Twitter; one columnist called Johnson "the scuzziest senator [ever]." (Read more Ron Johnson stories.)

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