Dem House candidate apologizes for saying it 'shouldn't take brain cancer' for McCain to show courage

Dem House candidate apologizes for saying it 'shouldn't take brain cancer' for McCain to show courage
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Minnesota House Democratic candidate Dean Phillips has apologized to Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEx-Montenegro leader fires back at Trump: ‘Strangest president' in history McCain: Trump plays into 'Putin's hands' by attacking Montenegro, questioning NATO obligations Joe Lieberman urges voters to back Crowley over Ocasio-Cortez in general MORE (R-Ariz.) for saying the veteran senator only had the courage to stand up to President Trump because of his brain cancer diagnosis. 

"First and foremost, I apologize to Sen. McCain for referencing his health, which I should not have done," Phillips said in a statement, according to the Washington Examiner.

"I greatly admire Sen. McCain's service to our country as well as his courage, and have for a long time," he continued. 

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"The point I was trying to make is that too many Republicans in Congress today — unlike Sen. McCain, Sen. Collins and a few others — have shown a troubling lack of courage and willingness to stand up for their constituents, including when it comes to protecting their access to affordable healthcare," he said, referring to Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: Novartis pulls back on drug price hikes | House Dems launch Medicare for All caucus | Trump officials pushing ahead on Medicaid work requirements Senate panel to vote next week on banning 'gag clauses' in pharmacy contracts GOP senator: Trump's changing stances on Russian threat are 'dizzying' MORE (R-Maine), who along with McCain helped to sink the GOP's health-care reform bill in the Senate. 

Phillips's comments come after he said that while he admired McCain and Republican Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump’s damage control falters Trump says Russia doesn’t pose threat, contradicting intelligence director Fed Chair Powell's charm offensive touts a booming economy MORE (Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeHillicon Valley: EU hits Google with record B fine | Trump tries to clarify Russia remarks | Sinclair changing deal to win over FCC | Election security bill gets traction | Robocall firm exposed voter data Overnight Defense: More Trump drama over Russia | Appeals court rules against Trump on transgender ban | Boeing wins Air Force One contract | Military parade to reportedly cost M Senate resolution backs intelligence community on Russian meddling MORE (Ariz.) for speaking out against Trump's rhetoric and policies, he did not think it should "take brain cancer and the retirement from the Senate to do so.”

Flake and Corker, two of Trump's sharpest critics, have both announced they are not seeking reelection in 2018.

"I’ve been tweeting on occasion about saluting Bob Corker and John McCain and Jeff Flake — men who have shown a little bit of courage speaking truth to their own party," Phillips says in a YouTube video of a campaign appearance, which was posted on Tuesday. 

"But it shouldn’t take brain cancer and the retirement from the Senate to do so," he said. 

Phillips is looking to unseat Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) in Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District next year.