WASHINGTON (AP) — Arizona Sen. John McCain is “sounding strong” as he recovers from surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye, his closest Republican colleague in the Senate said Monday.
“They found the spot and it looks like everything is going to be A-OK,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters after speaking to McCain. “He wants to come back so bad he can’t stand it. I think they won’t let him fly for a week. But I think he would walk back if they would let him.”
McCain, 80, underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona last Friday. Doctors said the senator had a “minimally invasive” procedure to remove the nearly 2-inch (5-centimeter) clot and that the surgery went “very well.”
McCain was recuperating at his home in Arizona. Pathology reports on the clot were expected in the next several days.
The surgery forced Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay a vote on the Republican health care bill, another setback for the effort to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. In a Senate divided 52-48 between Republicans and Democrats, McConnell can lose no more than two votes and still prevail.
Other senators said they spoke to McCain, and President Donald Trump wished him a speedy recovery.
“We hope John McCain gets better very soon. Because we miss him. He’s a crusty voice in Washington. Plus we need his vote,” Trump said at a trade event.
McConnell, who spoke to McCain, called him a “tough guy.”
But the response on Twitter from a committeewoman with the Republican National Committee prompted condemnation from the organization.
The RNC assailed a member who shared a social media post encouraging McCain to “just die already.”
The message came Monday from Republican national committeewoman Diana Orrock of Nevada. Orrock tweeted, “Amen,” in response to another Twitter user who had written, “Please Just (expletive) Die Already” above the hashtag “JohnMcCain”.
Republican National Committee spokesman Ryan Mahoney called Orrock’s tweet “extremely inappropriate.”
“Senator McCain is a hero who made countless sacrifices on behalf of all Americans. We look forward to his speedy recovery so he can return to the Senate and the work of the American people,” Mahoney said.
McCain, a former Navy pilot who was shot down over Vietnam and spent 5½ years as a prisoner of war, was the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2008.
Orrock deleted the tweet after it attracted media coverage. She did not respond to a voicemail or a text message seeking comment.
Meanwhile, the Senate panel that McCain leads will press ahead with its business this week. The Armed Services Committee says Republican Senator James Inhofe will act as chairman during McCain’s absence. Inhofe, who is from Oklahoma, is a longtime member of the panel and runs the subcommittee on military readiness and management support.
The committee meets Tuesday to consider the nomination of Air Force Gen. Paul Selva to serve a second term as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in New York contributed to this report.