Politicians unite behind McCain after cancer diagnosis

Mr John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer after doctors removed a blood clot above his left eye, his office said.
Mr John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer after doctors removed a blood clot above his left eye, his office said.PHOTO: REUTERS

Senator's colleagues, past and present, take to social media to wish him well

WASHINGTON • The news that US Senator John McCain has brain cancer appears - at least momentarily - to have unified sharply divided Republican and Democratic politicians in support of a man who was praised on Wednesday night as an "American hero".

Mr McCain, 80, was diagnosed after doctors removed a blood clot above his left eye, his office said on Wednesday night.

Tissue tested after the procedure last Friday revealed a glioblastoma, the statement said. Scans done afterwards showed the cancerous tissue was removed and the Arizona Republican has been recuperating at home since the procedure.

Almost immediately after the news was announced, Mr McCain's colleagues, past and present, took to social media to wish him well.

The praise poured in from politicians on both sides of the aisle who have served under various administrations over Mr McCain's decades- long career.

Get-well wishes came from senators who have been at odds for weeks amid a debate about healthcare, former presidents and even one of Mr McCain's congressional colleagues who is himself recovering from surgery.

Representative Steve Scalise, who was critically injured last month during a mass shooting at a congressional baseball practice, tweeted his support for Mr McCain.

TOUGH FIGHTER

Cancer doesn't know what it is up against. Give it hell.

FORMER US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, in support of Senator John McCain.

MAN OF COURAGE

The Hanoi Hilton couldn't break John McCain's spirit many years ago, so Barbara and I know - with confidence - he and his family will meet this latest battle in his singular life of service with courage and determination.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH, in a statement.

A former US Navy pilot, Mr McCain was captured and held prisoner during the Vietnam War, and Mr Scalise was one of several politicians who noted his resolve.

"Praying for my friend @SenJohnMcCain, one of the toughest people I know," he said.

In a statement, former president George H.W. Bush said: "The Hanoi Hilton couldn't break John McCain's spirit many years ago, so Barbara and I know - with confidence - he and his family will meet this latest battle in his singular life of service with courage and determination."

President Donald Trump called Mr McCain a "fighter", sent thoughts and prayers, and told the senator to "get well soon".

Vice-President Mike Pence said on Twitter that "cancer picked on the wrong guy" and that Mr McCain would "win this fight".

In a similar vein, former president Barack Obama said: "Cancer doesn't know what it is up against." He urged Mr McCain to "give it hell".

Representative Joseph Kennedy III, a Massachusetts Democrat whose great-uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy, died in 2009 from an aggressive brain tumour, said on Twitter that he was praying for Mr McCain and his family.

Support for Mr McCain extended far beyond Washington. Actress Rosie O'Donnell tweeted a picture of herself and a grinning Mr McCain. Singer Nancy Sinatra wished Mr McCain "strength, courage, prayers and the best of luck" in his fight.

And Mr Derrick Hall, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team, which Mr McCain has said he stays up late to watch, sent prayers to his "good friend", who he said would "win another battle".

Mr McCain's daughter Meghan McCain, who is a host on Fox News, also released a statement on Twitter. She said she and her family were shocked by the news and that they "live with anxiety about what comes next". But she added: "It won't surprise you to learn that in all this, the one of us who is most calm and confident is my father. He is the toughest person I know.

"So, he is meeting this challenge as he has every other. Cancer may afflict him in many ways, but it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has." NYTIMES, BLOOMBERG

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McCain diagnosed with brain cancer. str.sg/4DqS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2017, with the headline 'Politicians unite behind McCain after cancer diagnosis'. Print Edition | Subscribe