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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 McCainMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Arizona Dems hope higher Latino turnout will help turn the state blue McConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms 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 CollinsConservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns Susan Collins and the mob mentality 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 CorkerThe Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia Corker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE (Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona Watch live: Trump speaks at Arizona rally Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia following Khashoggi disappearance 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.