Senator John McCain revealed on 60 Minutes on Sunday night that his brain cancer, which was already known to be very serious, is in fact likely to be fatal. McCain revealed that he’s been given somewhere between a three and fourteen percent chance of survival, acknowledging that it was a “very poor prognosis” (link). A short time later, Donald Trump responded to the news not by offering any public condolences or honoring McCain’s status as an American war hero, but instead by attacking him.
Around twenty-four hours after McCain’s announcement, Trump tweeted “A few of the many clips of John McCain talking about Repealing & Replacing O’Care. My oh my has he changed-complete turn from years of talk!” He included a video of McCain repeatedly stating that he wanted to do so. What Trump left out is that while McCain has long stated his desire to repeal and replace Obamacare, he’s also stated that he has no intention of doing so unless the replacement plan is worthy of his support.
The Graham-Cassidy bill has turned out to be even more inept than the AHCA bill that came before it, so McCain was being consistent by ultimately taking a stand against both of his party’s health care initiatives. Trump is the one who is flip flopping, as he stated at various points during the campaign that he would deliver health care to more people, that no one would lose their existing insurance, and that he wouldn’t touch Medicaid. The two bills he’s supported have violated those pledges to the tune of taking away existing insurance from tens of millions of Americans.
But even if Donald Trump were right about health care and John McCain were in the wrong, it would still be stunning for the President of the United States to publicly attacking a U.S. Senator shortly after he revealed that he’s likely terminally ill. As it stands, it’s downright embarrassing.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report