Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that he takes umbrage at Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) assertion that Republicans could have banded together and successfully defunded Obamacare in the government shutdown but instead were responsible for losing the fight.
“Well, there’s a lot of ironies here because there were some of us and Republican senators that fought for 25 days against Obamacare up until Christmas eve morning. Campaigned across America in 2012 saying that as we elect Mitt Romney, we will repeal and replace Obamacare. We were the leaders in the fight during that time. The point is, though, that it would require 67 Republican votes in the United States Senate in order to override a presidential veto in the case of repeal of Obamacare,” McCain said on CNN.
“…But it was a fool’s errand to start with. It was never going to succeed. And the damage, this was not an academic exercise. the damage done to the people of this country, particularly in my state where we’re dependent on the tourist industry and places like the Grand Canyon, there’s a town called Tucson outside the Grand Canyon, hundreds of people then we had to have food banks send up meals for them because they live on minimum wage. Look, we can’t do this to the American people.”
He didn’t directly blame Cruz, though.
“All of those involved in it went on a fool’s errand. That’s just the fact. The other irony is that, in the polling data, national polling, Republicans are at an all-time historic low in approval or historic high in disapproval by the American people,” McCain said.
It hurt the party, the senator opined, but the question is “how deep and how long.”
“But the point is that what we need to do, move forward with immigration reform, get a positive agenda for America, continue the fight against Obamacare, get taxes down, address this whole issue of sequestration which is devastating our military. There are so many things we can do in a positive agenda and get off of this. Keep up the fight against Obamacare, but don’t shut down the government and have so much collateral damage,” he continued.
When asked about Cruz’s comments that he hasn’t ruled out a second shutdown, McCain said, “I think that he can exercise his rights as a senator, but it will not happen.”
“The American people will not stand for another one of these things. They just won’t,” he added. “…I think the American people have spoken and will continue to speak very loudly. We did this back in 1995. I’ve seen this movie before. It was another many years before we tried it again. And I am very confident the American people will not stand for another reputation of this disaster.”
“…There are divisions within the Republican Party. We’ve had them in the past. The Democrat Party before Bill Clinton had them. It’s very regrettable because our adversary is not each other and we will probably have to go through this discussion and debate. I just wish it would be respectful. I respect Ted Cruz. I respect these people and their views.”