‘Give it hell, John’: Family, colleagues and former foes wish McCain well

Julia Munslow

Following news that Sen. John McCain has a brain tumor, the senator saw an outpouring of support from family, friends and lawmakers across the political spectrum.

McCain, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, will undergo further treatment to fight the disease. His family is still determining the best course of action, his office said Wednesday night. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix discovered and removed the tumor Friday, while the senator underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye.

Cindy McCain, his wife, wrote that her husband is “doing well” in a Wednesday Instagram post, calling the senator “the toughest person I know.”

“We as a family will face the next hurdle together,” she wrote. “He is my hero and I love him with all my heart.”

Daughter Meghan McCain echoed her mother’s sentiment in her own statement Wednesday.

“It won’t surprise you to learn that in all this, the one of us who is the most confident and calm is my father,” she wrote. “He is the toughest person I know. The cruelest enemy could not break him. The aggressions of political life could not bend him … [Cancer] will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has.”


McCain has run for president twice, securing the Republican nomination in 2008 over his then-top GOP foe, Mitt Romney, but falling short in the general election to Barack Obama. Both Romney and Obama praised the former Vietnam War prisoner of war as a fighter.

“John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known,” wrote Obama. “Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”


Romney praised the senator’s “patriotism and courage,” calling both traits “vital to the nation.”

“With the fearful news tonight, Ann and I pray for his recovery,” Romney wrote.

“He is strong — and he will beat this,” said former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015. “Incredible progress in cancer research and treatment in just the last year offers new promise and hope. You can win this fight, John.”

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona alongside McCain, said that his colleague had told him about the diagnosis in passing on Wednesday.

“I called him before we heard of the diagnosis and spoke to him for several minutes about what was going on on Capitol Hill and what he was missing,” Flake said on “Good Morning America.”

When Flake asked McCain about his health, the elder senator responded, “I’m feeling fine, but I might have some chemotherapy in my future.”

Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) listens as he is being introduced at a campaign rally in Denver, Colorado October 24, 2008. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

“He’s optimistic, obviously,” Flake added. “He’s John McCain; that’s what we expect.”

Prayers also came from U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., a great-nephew of veteran former Sen. Ted Kennedy, who died from brain cancer in 2009.

“You won’t met any stronger and braver than him,” Rep. Kennedy wrote.

Despite the diagnosis, the Arizona Republican wants to get back to work as quickly as possible.

According to Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., McCain told him Wednesday night, “I’m going stay here a little bit longer, take some treatments and I’ll be back.”

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