Johnson: McCain ‘absolutely’ on his game

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate probes FBI's heavy-handed use of redactions to obstruct congressional investigators Hillicon Valley: DHS gets new cyber chief | White House warns lawmakers not to block ZTE deal | White nationalists find home on Google Plus | Comcast outbids Disney for Fox | Anticipation builds for report on FBI Clinton probe Graham jokes about Corker: GOP would have to be organized to be a cult MORE (R-Wis.) on Thursday said Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families McCain, Coons: Trump should withdraw controversial refugee nominee MORE (R-Ariz.) is “absolutely” on his game, clarifying previous comments that his colleague's health may have contributed to a vote against a scaled-down repeal of ObamaCare.

“Listen, I was just expressing sympathy for his condition," Johnson told CNN’s “New Day” "I’ve got the greatest respect for John McCain. He’s not impaired in any way, shape or form.” 

ADVERTISEMENT
Johnson came under scrutiny on Wednesday after suggesting during a radio segment that the late-night vote and McCain’s recently diagnosed brain cancer “might have factored in” to the Arizona Republican's decision to vote against the healthcare legislation.

Johnson walked back his remarks later that day, noting “the vote came at the end of a long day for everyone.”

"I'm disappointed I didn't more eloquently express my sympathy for what Sen. McCain is going through," Johnson said in a statement on Wednesday.

Johnson during a CNBC interview on Thursday said his original comments had been “completely misconstrued.”

"I was trying to first of all defend John's position. A lot of us were pretty upset about the process, and I was also just being sympathetic with his condition," Johnson said on "Squawk Box." "I've got nothing but a great deal of respect for John McCain."

Johnson told CNN he has reached out to McCain and is hoping to speak with his colleague on Thursday. 

“So listen, I was trying to defend his position and truthfully just express my sympathy for his health condition,” Johnson said.

-- Jordain Carney contributed to this report, which was updated at 11:36 a.m.