Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., defended his vote against the Republican healthcare bill this summer, saying that his decision was not rooted in antagonism against President Trump for mocking his military record.
“If I took offense at everybody who has said something about me, or disparaged me or something like that — life is too short,” he said, appearing on the 50th anniversary season of CBS “60 Minutes.” “You’ve got to move on.”
McCain was asked whether his “thumbs down” on healthcare should have been interpreted as a “middle finger” to Trump.
“On an issue of this importance to the nation, for me to worry about a personal relationship, I’m not doing my job,” he replied.
During his campaign for the 2016 election, Trump called McCain a “dummy” and mocked his time as a naval officer when he was captured and tortured for almost six years in Vietnam.
“He’s a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said at the time. “I like people who weren’t captured.”
Speaking about the healthcare during the summer, McCain said he became choked up when he returned to Washington, D.C., after finding out about his brain cancer diagnosis, when members of Congress gave him a standing ovation.
At the time, McCain cast the vote to allow debate to begin on an Obamacare repeal and replacement bill, and then condemned the way that Congress had been working along party lines on healthcare.
After hours of debate, McCain doomed the final bill, known as “skinny repeal,” which would have narrowly repealed Obamacare, despite last-minute lobbying by Vice President Pence and Trump. McCain has said that this week he plans to vote against another bill to overhaul Obamacare.
Asked about Trump’s fitness for the White House, McCain said that he believed in the U.S. election system.
“The American people selected Donald Trump to be President of the United States. We have to respect that … He has a very strong national security team around him who I know has significant influence over him.”
McCain said that he and Trump were “very different people” with “different upbringings” and “different life experiences.”
Pressed on what he meant, McCain said, “He is in the business of making money and he has been successful, both on television as well as Miss America and others. I was raised in a military family. I was raised in the concept and belief that duty, honor, country is the load star for behavior that we have to exhibit every single day.”