Senator: Brain tumor, late night may have influenced McCain's health vote

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump spars with GOP lawmakers on steel tariffs Overnight Regulation: Trump unveils budget | Sharp cuts proposed for EPA, HHS | Trump aims to speed environmental reviews | Officials propose repealing most of methane leak rule Trump budget seeks savings through ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wis.) says Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE’s brain cancer may have factored into the Arizona Republican's stunning vote last month that sunk the GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

McCain's vote surprised Johnson, who said McCain's illness and the fact that the vote was cast in the middle of the night likely influenced his decision.

“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 in an interview on 560AM, “Chicago’s Morning Answer.”


The answer prompted a surprised response from Amy Jacobson, the show’s co-host. 

“Really?” she said. “I mean he did get out — just had recovered from getting the brain tumor removed and then flew all the way to Washington, D.C., but do you really think that played a factor in his judgment call?”

McCain cast the decisive vote that killed the healthcare bill.

A spokesman for McCain criticized Johnson's remarks.

"It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Sen. Johnson would question the judgement of a colleague and friend," a McCain spokesman told NBC.

"Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote," said the spokesman, who was not identified by name in the report.

Two other GOP senators also voted no, Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe siren of Baton Rouge Interior plan to use drilling funds for new projects met with skepticism The 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework MORE (Alaska), but their votes were expected. McCain’s rejection of the bill stunned GOP leaders and colleagues.  

Johnson said he was convinced at a 10:30 p.m. meeting that McCain would vote for the so-called skinny repeal bill because Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE (R-Wis.) had assured senators that the House would agree to conference negotiations to revise it before final passage.

“I really thought John was going to vote yes,” he said.

Johnson conceded the bare-bones repeal bill, which was a last-ditch effort by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) to pass something through the Senate, was “grossly inadequate.”

But he said “we did get a call from Paul and he assured us that skinny repeal was not going to pass the House and would have to go to conference.”

- This story was updated at 1:54 p.m.