McCain memoir says immigration reform 'a harder disappointment than other defeats'

McCain memoir says immigration reform 'a harder disappointment than other defeats'
© Greg Nash

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBill Maher delivers mock eulogy for Trump Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column CNN's Ana Navarro to host Biden roundtable on making 'Trump a one-term president' MORE (R-Ariz.) reflects in his forthcoming memoir on his unsuccessful attempts to push comprehensive immigration reform through Congress, saying that those failures were "a harder disappointment than other defeats."

"We failed twice, and then once more after Ted had passed away, despite big majorities in both houses of Congress in favor of it," McCain writes in "The Restless Wave," referring to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), whom he worked with on immigration reform legislation.

"I'd like to say I'll try again. But that is not up to me anymore," he continues. "That's a harder disappointment than other defeats have been because first, it's something that most Americans want, and most members of Congress know is the right thing to do."

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An excerpt from the book, due out May 22, was published on Saturday by The Arizona Republic.

McCain also takes shots at hardline opponents of immigration reform, including Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden builds big lead in battleground Florida Progressive Bowman ousts Engel in New York primary Colorado GOP Rep. Scott Tipton defeated in primary upset MORE (R-Iowa), President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE and former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The senator writes that Trump's victory in Arizona in the 2016 presidential election likely stemmed from the candidate's inflammatory rhetoric on immigration, and that the win should not have come as a surprise.

"That isn't terribly surprising given [Trump's] insulting references to unauthorized immigrants and the hard positions the state adopted in recent years to punish and apprehend them, exacerbated by the offensive statements and policies of Maricopa County's notorious former sheriff, convicted felon Joe Arpaio," McCain writes, according to the Republic.

On King, McCain writes that he is "a backbench House Republican from Iowa" who "seems to go out of his way to offend as many people as he can with his crude insults of folks who came to this country for freedom and opportunity," the Republic reported.

McCain has been among the most vocal Republican advocates for comprehensive immigration reform. He often worked across the aisle with Kennedy, who died in 2009 of glioblastoma, the same form of brain cancer that McCain is currently fighting.

McCain was also part of the "Gang of Eight," the bipartisan group of senators who wrote a 2013 measure to overhaul the country's immigration system and border security. That bill passed in the Senate, but was never taken up in the House.