Dem senator on McCain: ‘I was trying not to jump up and down and smile’

Dem senator on McCain: ‘I was trying not to jump up and down and smile’
© Greg Nash

A Democratic senator said Friday that Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDon’t disrespect McCain by torpedoing his clean National Defense Authorization Act Meghan McCain rips Trump's 'gross' line about her dad Trump's America fights back MORE's (R-Ariz.) deciding vote to kill the GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare came as a joyful surprise to many Democrats.

Describing the mood in the Senate chamber during the vote, Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate moderates hunt for compromise on family separation bill All the times Horowitz contradicted Wray — but nobody seemed to notice Hillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase MORE (D-Conn.) said he was elated when McCain shared with Democrats how he planned to vote.

Just after 1 a.m., McCain suddenly moved from the Republican side of the chamber to converse with Democrats, including Coons. It was then that the Arizona Republican told the Democrats his decision.

"He stood with a group of us and said, 'I am a no,' " Coons told CNN after the vote. "I was trying not to jump up and down and smile."

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McCain was one of three GOP senators who defected and joined Democrats to kill the Republican repeal effort, along with Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration Republicans agree — it’s only a matter of time for Scott Pruitt Skyrocketing insulin prices provoke new outrage MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiIcebreaking ships are not America’s top priority in the Arctic 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families Trump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril MORE (Alaska).

Senate leaders reacted to the Republicans' role in killing the bill with dismay.

“This is clearly a disappointing moment,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPolitical figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer Charles Krauthammer dies at the age of 68 Overnight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos MORE (R-Ky.) said.

“I regret that our efforts were simply not enough this time. Now, I imagine many of our colleagues on the other side are celebrating. Probably pretty happy about all this. But the American people are hurting, and they need relief.”

After the vote, McCain said in a statement that he wanted to use the committee process to work on crafting a better bill to repeal ObamaCare that could actually pass the Senate and the House.

“We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of the aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people,” McCain said in a statement early Friday.