UPDATED with POTUS statement: Arizona’s Sen. McCain has been diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta was first to report Wednesday afternoon.
After speaking to the senator and getting his permission, Gupta said he spoke to McCain’s doctors, who had operated on Friday, revealing the aggressive type of brain cancer.
President Donald Trump issued a statement after the diagnosis was revealed: “Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon.”
According to Gupta, the 80-year-old McCain went to his doctors Friday for an annual physical, complaining of fatigue, as well as a bout of double vision. A CT scan of his brain and subsequent MRI revealed what looked like a blood clot. During an operation at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, doctors removed what they believe to be the entire tumor, over his left eye. (See the CNN video below.)
McCain had taken leave of Washington as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was trying to get his Trumpcare plan passed. Trump wished him a speedy return “because we miss him; he is a crusty voice in Washington. Plus, we need his vote.”
McCain’s absence forced McConnell to delay consideration of his Trumpcare bill, though it turned into roadkill when two more GOP senators simultaneously announced their rejection of the bill.
Gupta’s news about McCain today was immediately followed by a panel in which CNN correspondents waxed fondly about his pugnacious relationship with the press. In February, McCain famously told Meet The Press host Chuck Todd: “I hate the press. I hate you especially. But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital.
“If you want to preserve – I’m very serious now – if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press,” McCain continued. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”
Two years ago this month, Trump surprisingly turned McCain into a campaign talking point, insisting he was “not a war hero” during the Iowa Family Leadership Summit when the moderator brought up the senator’s name, McCain having spent more than five years as a POW in Vietnam.
“He’s a war hero ’cause he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK?” Trump added in a remark other GOP candidates insisted rendered Trump unqualified to be Commander in Chief.
Leaving the stage that night, Trump dug his hole a little deeper, telling reporters, “I am not blaming John McCain for his capture. If he gets captured, he gets captured.”