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 McCainMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Meghan McCain says her father regrets opposition to MLK Day 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 CollinsDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals 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 CorkerSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Congress should take the lead on reworking a successful Iran deal North Korea tensions ease ahead of Winter Olympics MORE (Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press Bipartisan group to introduce DACA bill in House Flake's anti-Trump speech will make a lot of noise, but not much sense 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.