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McCain: 'Unfortunately for My Sparring Partners in Congress, I'll be Back Soon'

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) talks with reporters in the Senate subway before the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol on July 11, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON — Amid an outpouring of support for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was diagnosed with a brain tumor Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor this morning that lawmakers are confident “he’ll be back in the very near future.”

McCain himself tweeted this morning, “I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support – unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I’ll be back soon, so stand-by!”

The six-term senator and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, 80, was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the same aggressive type of tumor suffered by late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Beau Biden, after pathology was conducted on a blood clot removed from behind his left eyebrow on Friday.

“Senator McCain is an American hero. He’s a hero to our conference. He’s a hero to our country. Here in the Senate, he is a friend to almost all of us. Our collective prayers are with him now. We’re thinking of Cindy and the rest of his family as well, along with his staff and the people of Arizona,” McConnell said.

“Senator McCain, as we all know, has never shied away from a fight. I assure you he isn’t going to back down now,” he added. “I know that the senator from Arizona will confront this challenge with the same extraordinary courage that has characterized his entire life. And he should know that we’re all in his corner. Every single one of us.”

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said McCain’s cancer diagnosis “sent a shock wave through the Senate last night.”

“He’s one of my dear friends, he’s a dear friend to many in this body — and from the bottom of my heart I wish him and his family well. So does every member of this chamber. The respect that this man has is broad and deep, both based on his service to America and on what he has done here in this chamber,” Schumer said.

“I agree with what the Majority Leader said earlier: John McCain is an American hero. There’s no one who has done more to serve his country in this chamber than Senator McCain. There’s no one who is more passionate in defense of our soldiers and our defense than Senator McCain,” he added. “And I want to say, that same courage he showed as a soldier he showed here in the Senate.”

Schumer referenced his experiences working with McCain in the Gang of Eight on the 2013 immigration reform proposal.

“He had to take so many tough positions to do what was right — he was fearless. His word was good, he was good at compromising, and he was good at making his views known. And that bill, which passed this body with 67 or 68 votes, a large number of Democrats and Republicans, had it become law, our country’s economy would have been better, our security would have been better because it was so tough on the border, we would have been a better place for it, having that bill passed,” he added. “But the point I wanted to make is not the bill, but how McCain, we were in rooms for hours and hours day after day, and you got to see the mettle of the man, and boy, the more you knew him, the better he looked — the better he was.”

Schumer added that McCain needs to return to the Senate soon “because this country needs John McCain now more than ever.”

One of McCain’s well-wishers Wednesday night was House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who has been in the hospital for more than a month recovering from a gunshot wound suffered in the June attack on a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Va.

“Praying for my friend @SenJohnMcCain, one of the toughest people I know,” Scalise tweeted.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at her morning press conference that she spoke with Scalise today, “who sounds wonderful, and I told him about our prayers for him, our hopes for his recovery, but not sooner than he really is recovered, not to come back any sooner.”

“And, of course, we try to comfort his wife, Jennifer, and children Harrison and Madison, but they really — their strength is a comfort for the rest of us, in any event,” she added.

On McCain, Pelosi said, “I’m a big believer in the power of prayer. So I have great confidence… I know that’s what he will do, keep on fighting.”