In a radio interview he gave last week, Sen. Ron Johnson suggested Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer may have played a role in his decision to vote against the GOP “skinny” repeal of Obamacare. Today CNN published an excerpt from the interview:
“We did get a call from Paul (Ryan) and he assured us that skinny repeal was not going to pass the House it would have to go to conference,” said the Wisconsin senator on AM560 “Chicago’s Morning Answer.”
“Again, 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,” he continued.
When a radio host asked if he really believed McCain’s illness played a role in determining his vote, Johnson replied, “Again, 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 1:00, 1:30, he voted no. So you have to talk to John in terms of what was on his mind.”
After the publication of Johnson’s remarks earlier today, McCain’s office gave a statement to the Hill saying, “It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Sen. Johnson would question the judgement [sic] of a colleague and friend. Sen. McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote.”
Sen. Johnson also released a statement saying, “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.”
Johnson seems to have been freelancing by suggesting McCain’s cancer might be at fault here. That gaffe aside, it is interesting that he believed McCain was going to vote for the bill earlier in the evening. Did McCain change his mind at the last moment? If not, why did Johnson think he was onboard in the first place?