President Trump chided Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE (R-Ariz.) late Friday for opposing a last-ditch plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, insisting the GOP would "eventually" roll back his predecessor's signature health-care law.
Trump called McCain's opposition "totally unexpected" and "terrible" during a campaign rally in Huntsville, Ala., where he stumped on behalf of Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangePandemic proves importance of pharmaceutical innovation The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Trump faces test of power with early endorsements MORE (R-Ala.) ahead of Tuesday's GOP primary runoff against former judge Roy Moore.
"John McCain, if you look at his last campaign, it was all about repeal and replace, repeal and replace," Trump told the crowd. "So he decided to do something different, and that's fine."
"We're going to do it eventually," Trump insisted of ObamaCare repeal efforts, adding Strange would help the GOP reach the goal.
Trump broadly chastised congressional Republicans for campaigning for seven years "saying repeal and replace, repeal and replace" and failing to deliver on the promise.
"They didn't care, nobody cared, because they had a president who wasn't going to sign it," Trump said, referring to GOP votes to repeal ObamaCare under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein Obama Obama backs Trudeau in Canadian election Former Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal MORE.
"So it didn't take much courage," he continued. "I think they voted, what 61 times? Sixty-one times to repeal and replace. They finally get a president who will sign the legislation and they don't have the guts to vote for it."
McCain was one of a few GOP senators watched closely ahead of a possible vote next week on the repeal legislation sponsored by Sens. Bill CassidyBill CassidyGOP senator on Texas abortion law: Supreme Court will 'swat it away' when 'it comes to them in an appropriate manner' GOP hopes spending traps derail Biden agenda Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect MORE (R-La.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump offers sympathy for those charged with Jan. 6 offenses Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod MORE (R-S.C.).
McCain cast a deciding vote in late July killing a scaled-down ObamaCare repeal bill, joining Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee Trump endorses GOP challenger to Upton over impeachment vote MORE (R-Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWelcome to ground zero of climate chaos A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate Bipartisan blip: Infrastructure deal is last of its kind without systemic change MORE (R-Maine) in voting against the bill.
The Arizona Republican announced Friday he would also vote against the latest repeal measure from Graham and Cassidy, which Republicans hoped to vote on next week ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline for approving the bill on a majority vote.
“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried," McCain said in a statement.
Trump said Friday night that he was provided a list of 10 GOP senators who were "absolute no's" on ObamaCare repeal, saying McCain was not on the list.
"John McCain was not on the list. So that was a totally unexpected thing, terrible. Honestly, terrible," Trump said.
The president acknowledged that McCain's opposition hurt GOP repeal efforts, but insisted the party would "go back" and press for repeal.
"It's like a boxer – they get knocked down, get up. Knocked down, get up," Trump said.
"And then the bad ones, they stay in the stool and they say, 'We quit, we quit.' The great ones get up and they end up winning. That's what we're going to do. We might have to go back again and again."
Updated: 9:43 p.m.