The 80 year old Senator left his hospital bed to take a 5 hour flight to Washington and cast his vote to begin debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The vote was crucial as it gave Republicans 50 ‘yes’ votes against 50 ‘no’ votes, which included two Republican senators. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote, thereby beginning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s scheme to push through a Trump-approved repeal of the ACA.
The New York Times reported that McCain was greeted with a standing ovation by relieved Republicans who likely feared further angry and threatening tweets from the president. The Arizona senator responded to the cheering crowd by telling his colleagues that, “my service here is the most important job I’ve had in my life.” Then, in a show of his renegade reputation, he bemoaned the current state of politics as having not, ‘been overburdened by greatness lately,” even admitting that he himself, “made it harder to find common ground.”
According the NY Times, the senator then went out of his way to clarify that although he had voted to begin debate on repealing the ACA, he would definitely not vote for a senate health care bill without major changes. The ailing senator then demanded that other senators work in a bipartisan way and ignore ‘bombastic’ pundits, exclaiming, “to hell with them.”
Social media has taken the senator to task for his vote, as his own government allotted health insurance is paying for his medical treatment. As Vox reported, without the free health coverage, McCain’s bill would be at least $76,000 and counting. It was not lost on many angry commentators that the senator flew 5 hours to cast a vote to take away health care away from poor people when Mr. McCain himself was receiving the best (free) care available.
It is also an indication of McCain’s possibly suffering from Stockholm Syndrome that as a Vietnam veteran who was a prisoner of war for 5 years, would rush to help a president who ridiculed McCain in 2015 by claiming that, “He’s not a war hero.” and kicking the veteran further, quipping, “I like people who weren’t captured.” Perhaps the senator from Arizona is trying to become Trump’s new hero.
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