Dialing back on remarks he made during an interview with a Chicago radio station, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Thursday he has the “deepest respect” for McCain.
In a radio interview Tuesday, Johnson questioned whether Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) recently diagnosed brain cancer might have played a role in his “no” vote on Republicans’ Obamacare repeal plan.
“In no way was I trying to criticize him. If anything, I was trying to defend his position. A lot of us had a real problem with that skinny repeal and we weren’t going to vote for it until we got that assurance from Paul (Ryan),” Johnson said Thursday, appearing on CNN’s “New Day.” “I was trying to defend his position and truthfully express my sympathy for his health condition.”
During an interview with “Chicago Morning Answer” this week, Johnson said McCain’s brain tumor and the fact that it was late at night may have been factors in why he voted against the plan.
“Again, I’m not going to speak for John McCain, you know, he has a brain tumor right now. That vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning, some of that might have factored in,” he said in the radio interview.
McCain’s office responded Wednesday, calling Johnson’s comments “bizarre and deeply unfortunate.”
Johnson put out a statement Wednesday afternoon as well, saying he was “disappointed” that he didn’t “more eloquently express my sympathy for what Sen. McCain is going through.”
“I was just expressing my sympathy for his condition. Again, no, I’ve got the greatest respect for John McCain. He’s not impaired in any way, shape or form,” Johnson said Thursday.
It was McCain who killed the “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill last month with a late-night no vote. He said he was opposed to the plan because he wanted Republicans and Democrats to work together on a health care plan and said he supported repealing Obamacare, but he wanted an immediate replacement.