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Lindsey Graham Fights Back Tears Defending John McCain From Trump’s Attacks

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has one thing to say about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): “He can do whatever damn he wants to. He’s earned that right.” Graham was responding to President Donald Trump’s latest attack on the Arizona senator for opposing Republicans’ most recent attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans do not appear to have enough votes to pass the latest bill, which Graham co-wrote, and McCain is one of the few Republicans opposing the new legislation. Trump attacked McCain on Twitter Monday, and Graham fought back tears defending his longtime friend.

“John if you’re listening ... nobody respects you more than I do.” Graham said during a CNN debate Monday night. “So to any American who’s got a problem with John McCain’s vote, all I can tell you is that John McCain was willing to die for this country, and he can vote any way he wants to, and it doesn’t matter to me in terms of friendship.”

McCain was the deciding vote that derailed a previous Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare in July. The senator, who is currently battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, has had a poor relationship with Trump since the president’s candidacy, when he said McCain was “not a war hero.” 

 

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Jaguars Owner Locks Arms With Players After Trump Protests

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan joined dozens of football players in a silent demonstration during the national anthem in London on Sunday.

Khan, who donated $1 million to President Trump’s inauguration committee, linked arms with his players Marcedes Lewis and Telvin Smith at Wembley Stadium as an estimated 27 others took a knee on the field.

The stance came in response to Trump demanding that the National Football League fire players who were kneeling during the national anthem in protest of social injustices. He also encouraged fans to boycott the league over the protests.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,’” Trump said during a rally on Friday in Alabama.

He echoed that sentiment on Twitter on Saturday.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb were among those who took a knee on the field on Sunday, The Associated Press reported. 

Participating Jaguars players included linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti also expressed his support for his players on Sunday.

“We recognize our players’ influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form,” he said in a statement posted to Twitter.

 

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John McCain: ‘I Cannot In Good Conscience Vote’ For The GOP Obamacare Repeal Bill 1

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Friday that he doesn’t support the latest Obamacare repeal bill, all but ensuring Republicans’ last-ditch effort to gut the Affordable Care Act is dead in the water. “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said in a statement.

“I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,” he said. “Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full [Congressional Budget Office] score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.”

Since the entire Democratic caucus opposes the bill, dubbed Cassidy-Graham, Republican leaders can afford to lose only two GOP senators on it. McCain’s decision means the bill doesn’t appear to have the votes to pass. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has said he’s opposed to it, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has said she’s “leaning against” it. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who voted against the last repeal bill, has also raised concerns with this one. 

In a lengthy statement, McCain underscored that the process has been terrible and suggested he won’t support any repeal bill that wasn’t vetted through the usual rigorous, bipartisan debate. Republican leaders have been rushing to try to pass the bill ― any repeal bill, really ― because their ability to pass something with 51 votes (including Vice President Mike Pence’s tiebreaker) instead of 60 expires at the end of the month. 

“I would consider supporting legislation similar to that offered by my friends Senators Graham and Cassidy were it the product of extensive hearings, debate and amendment. But that has not been the case,” he said. “Instead, the specter of September 30th budget reconciliation deadline has hung over this entire process.”

He also nudged leadership to let the senators working on a bipartisan solution to health care continue their work. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have been holding hearings and trying to come up with a health care bill both parties can get behind, but GOP leaders effectively shut down their work to clear the path for the Cassidy-Graham bill.

“Senators Alexander and Murray have been negotiating in good faith to fix some of the problems with Obamacare,” said McCain. “But I fear that the prospect of one last attempt at a strictly Republican bill has left the impression that their efforts cannot succeed. I hope they will resume their work should this last attempt at a partisan solution fail.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) hailed McCain’s decision to move on from his party’s months-long repeal effort.

“John McCain shows the same courage in Congress that he showed when he was a naval aviator,” Schumer said in a statement. “I have assured Senator McCain that as soon as repeal is off the table, we Democrats are intent on resuming the bipartisan process.”

The Arizona senator’s announcement isn’t a total surprise. He helped bring down the GOP’s last repeal bill in a dramatic, late-night vote. But this time, his close friend Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is leading the charge on the legislation, and it was unclear if McCain was prepared to vote against his pal. McCain acknowledged that made his decision more difficult.

“I take no pleasure in announcing my opposition. Far from it,” he said. “The bill’s authors are my dear friends, and I think the world of them. I know they are acting consistently with their beliefs and sense of what is best for the country. So am I.”

Graham tweeted later that there’s no hard feelings.

One of the first people to praise McCain for his decision was late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel. He’s been tearing into the bill’s other author, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), all week for going back on his word about advocating a repeal bill that ensures pre-existing condition protections and lower costs. The Cassidy-Graham bill does neither.

“Thank you, @SenJohnMcCain for being a hero again and again and now AGAIN,” tweeted Kimmel.

 

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