The moment McCain votes no and the Democrats cheer pic.twitter.com/UiJXnC1VFE— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) July 28, 2017
Arizona Sen. John McCain returned to the Capitol after a brain cancer diagnosis to vote on Republican leadership’s pared-down proposal to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act, aka the “skinny repeal bill.”
However, shortly before entering the Senate chamber, McCain, whose decision to come back to Washington was praised by President Donald Trump himself, told reporters to “watch the show” — and what a show it was.
The video posted above, which has since gone viral, shows the moment Arizona senator and celebrated war hero effectively killed the Republicans' last-ditch effort to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
The clip shows the veteran approaching the front of the chamber and holding his right palm face down before doing a thumbs-down, saying “No.” The sound of collective gasps from his fellow Republicans and the confused cheers from the Democrats pretty much encompasses how everyone felt about the turn of events.
“From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. The so-called ‘skinny repeal’ amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals,” McCain later said in a statement. “While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare's most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens.”
McCain also mentioned how House Speaker Paul Ryan’s assurance the House would be "willing to go to conference” did not ease his concern about “this shell of a bill.”
His fellow Republicans, Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — who famously tanked the Senate GOP’s previous health care repeal plan as well — also crossed party lines to kill the bill that would have left at least 16 million additional people without health care and driven premiums up by 20 percent.
“I've stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote,” McCain continued. “We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation's governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”
Meanwhile, here is how social media users reacted to McCain’s maverick moment:
When you tweeted a bunch of bad stuff about John McCain and he actually came through pic.twitter.com/TMtGrR5eV3— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) July 28, 2017
McCain!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) July 28, 2017
GOP: I know we have John McCain's vote.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) July 28, 2017
Me seeing McCain's vote. pic.twitter.com/tUiF8rrlqJ— pat muldowney (@patmuldowney) July 28, 2017
Senator John McCain is a man of his word and a true hero. Compassion and heart wins the day.— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) July 28, 2017
I ❤️ John McCain. That's all. https://t.co/wE56Hv0r6F— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) July 28, 2017
Admiration for John McCain shouldn't hinge on a vote. You can disagree with many of his political views. I do. But he is an American hero.— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) July 28, 2017
Every Republican in America should take a moment to reflect on #JohnMcCain. THIS is what love of country looks like. Heart of a hero.— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) July 28, 2017
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Aaron P. Bernstein