U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson told a Chicago radio show he thought John McCain's brain tumor may have affected his Obamacare vote on July 28, CNN reported, a no vote which ended Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
McCain's vote, along with those of fellow Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – along with Senate Democrats – sank the so called "skinny repeal," the Senate's last ditch effort to get rid of the ACA, the New York Post noted.
McCain had returned to the U.S. Senate after surgery to remove a blood clot over an eye and after he learned he had brain cancer, CNN said.
"We did get a call from (Speaker of the House) Paul (Ryan) and he assured us that skinny repeal was not going to pass the House it would have to go to conference," Wisconsin’s Johnson told WIND-AM "Chicago's Morning Answer" radio show on Tuesday, per CNN.
"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," Johnson said.
When pushed by a radio host to explain his comments, Johnson attempted to clarify, CNN said.
"Again, I don't know exactly what – we really thought – and again I don't want speak for any senator," Johnson said. "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."
That triggered a response from Julie Tarallo, McCain's spokesman, who said McCain was firm in his reasons in voting against the skinny repeal, CNN said.
"It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Sen. Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend," Tarallo told CNN. "Sen. McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote."
KNOW-TV said Johnson attempted to clear the air on Wednesday, saying in a statement that he was disappointed that he "didn't more eloquently express (his) sympathy for what Sen. McCain" was experiencing. "I have nothing but respect for him and the vote came at the end of a long day for everyone."
McCain told a Phoenix talk radio show last week that he was "feeling good" after starting treatment for his brain cancer and promised to return to the Senate for work in September, Politico reported.
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