“I have the deepest respect for John McCain and in no way I was trying to criticize him. If anything I was trying to defend his position. A lot of us have a real problem with that skinny repeal, and we weren’t going to vote for it until we got that assurance from [House Speaker Paul D. Ryan],” Mr. Johnson, a Republican, said on CNN, referring to Mr. Ryan’s assurance to the Senate that the skinny repeal would not pass the House and would need to go to conference.
“I’m not going to speak for John McCain. He has a brain tumor right now. The vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning. Some of that might have factored in. I don’t know exactly what we really thought, and again I don’t want to 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 to 1:30, he voted no. So you have to talk to John in terms of what was on his mind,” Mr. Johnson told “Chicago’s Morning Answer” on Wednesday.
Mr. McCain’s office fired back calling the comments “bizarre.”
“It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Senator Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend. Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote,” Julie Tarallo, Mr. McCain’s communications director, said in a statement.
“He’s not impaired in any way, shape or form,” Mr. Johnson said.
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