President Donald Trump on Monday wished Sen. John McCain a speedy recovery from surgery, dubbing him a “crusty voice in Washington" — and adding that the GOP needs his vote on health care.
“We must repeal job-killing Obamacare. We have to do that,” Trump said, criticizing the 2010 health care law at an event promoting the White House’s “Made in America”-themed week. “And I can tell you, we hope John McCain gets better very soon, because we miss him.”
“He’s a crusty voice in Washington, plus we need his vote,” Trump said, to laughter, of McCain, who is a frequent critic of the president. “And he’ll be back. And he will be back sooner than somebody else would be back. He’ll be back soon.”
The news on Saturday that McCain had undergone emergency surgery and needed a week to recover at home in Arizona prompted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay the chamber’s health care vote, which the leadership was planning for this week. The bill is already opposed by two members of the caucus, Sens. Rand Paul and Susan Collins, and because Republicans can only afford to lose two votes on the legislation, it would not likely move forward with McCain absent.
There are still several Republican senators with doubts about the legislation and who remain uncommitted, leaving its future unclear. But Trump doubled down on Monday and insisted that Republicans must succeed in passing it.
“We need that vote and we need a number of votes because we do have to repeal Obamacare, and we will end up replacing it with something that is going to be outstanding, far, far better than failing Obamacare,” Trump pledged.