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Suggestion McCain's tumor may have influenced health care vote 'bizarre,' spokesman says

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain’s spokesman shut down a fellow senator's suggestion that the Arizona Republican's brain tumor may have affected his "no" vote on health care.

“It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Sen. [Ron] Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend. Sen. McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote,” McCain’s spokesman told ABC News.

Johnson, R-Wis., made the remarks Tuesday during a radio interview with Chicago’s "Morning Answer", saying that McCain was having a “brain tumor right now” and it “might have factored in” to the “1:30 in the morning” skinny repeal vote.

When the interviewer asked Johnson whether he really believed McCain’s tumor had influenced his vote, Johnson said he “won’t speak for any senator.”

“I really thought John was going to vote 'yes' and send it to conference at 10:30 at night. By about 1, 1:30 he voted 'no,'” Johnson said. “So you’d have to talk to John in terms of what was on his mind.”

Johnson walked back on the comments on Wednesday evening, saying in a statement that he was disappointed that “[he] didn’t more eloquently express [his] sympathy for what Sen. McCain” was experiencing.

“I have nothing but respect for him and the vote came at the end of a long day for everyone,” he said.

Johnson’s apologetic statement came on the heels of a Facebook Live town hall session McCain was hosting.

When asked about his health, McCain didn’t downplay the nature of his illness, calling it “rough” and saying “he had to beat it.”

“Look, my friends, this is a very malicious disease but I’ve had other challenges in my time as well and I don’t mean to be repetitious but to my Democrat friends and to some of my Republican friends, I’m coming back,” McCain said, alluding to how he had survived being a prisoner of war for five-and-a-half years during the Vietnam War.

McCain also explained that his unexpected "no" vote was provoked by what he called the quick “ramming through” of the skinny repeal through the Senate, saying he wanted it to go through the “regular process.”

McCain created a stir in the Senate during the skinny repeal vote on July 28 when he voted thumbs-down, sparking surprise among Republican senators who believed he would let it proceed.

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