Just days after John McCain underwent surgery last July to remove a blood clot from behind his eye and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, the senator decided to fly from Arizona back to Washington, D.C., to vote on the Republicans’ attempt to repeal Obamacare.
But worried daughter Meghan wasn’t having it.
The View co-host reveals in the new HBO documentary, John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls, premiering Monday night, that she felt her father, 81, should stay home and recuperate. But her equally strong-willed father felt differently.
“He said, ‘I have to get back for the healthcare bill’ and I said, ‘What could possibly happen if he gets on a plane?’ and the doctor said he would like hemorrhage and it can be dangerous if he still has air in his brain, and all this crazy stuff,” Meghan, 33, tells filmmakers Peter, George and Teddy Kunhardt.
“So I freaked out and I screamed at everyone that he couldn’t get on the plane and that I didn’t agree with it,” she continues. “And my dad snapped at me and said, ‘It’s my life and it’s my choice.”’
McCain, a Republican, indeed made the trip and took to the floor of the senate on Friday, July 28, to vote the deciding no vote on Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“I will not vote for this bill as it is today,” McCain forcefully told his senate colleagues, many of whom reacted with stunned silence and a few audible gasps, as seen in the documentary’s archival footage.
“I think the Republicans felt that he had marshaled all of his physical strength to come back after the surgery and that naturally he would vote with the Republican party,” former Democratic senator and close McCain pal Joe Lieberman tells the filmmakers.
“But they totally misread John,” Lieberman says. “He came back for a different reason. He came back to do the right thing and to send a message to his colleagues and to the country.”
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A few days before the vote, McCain delivered an impassioned speech urging his senate colleagues to work together and stop the political polarization.
McCain noted that Republicans had created an Obamacare repeal and replace plan behind closed doors and questioned their rationale for him voting yes because ‘it’s better than nothing?'”
“We are getting nothing done, my friends,” he had said on the senate floor, “We are getting nothing done.”