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McCain treated for viral infection

Profile image for Jonathan Lemire
Jonathan Lemire, Associated Press

Republican back home in Ariz., will miss tax bill vote

WASHINGTON -- Republican Sen. John McCain has returned home to Arizona after being hospitalized for a viral infection while battling brain cancer and will miss a crucial Senate vote on the GOP tax package, his office said Sunday.

The 81-year-old senator will undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic in the state after spending several days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. In a brief statement, the office provided an assessment from Dr. Mark Gilbert, chief of neuro-oncology at the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute.

"Senator McCain has responded well to treatment he received at Walter Reed Medical Center for a viral infection and continues to improve," Gilbert said. "An evaluation of his underlying cancer shows he is responding positively to ongoing treatment."

McCain expressed appreciation for his care and the outpouring of support and, according to his office, "looks forward to returning to Washington in January."

Now in his sixth Senate term, McCain underwent surgery in mid-July to remove a 2-inch blood clot in his brain after being diagnosed with glioblastoma.

His daughter Meghan McCain tweeted Sunday: "My father is doing well and we are all looking forward to spending Christmas together in Arizona."

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump told reporters he had spoken to McCain's wife, Cindy.

"They've headed back, but I understand he'll come if we ever needed his vote, which hopefully we won't," Trump said after returning to the White House from Camp David. "But the word is that John will come back if we need his vote. And it's too bad. He's going through a very tough time, there's no question about it. But he will come back if we need his vote."

Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate, and McCain and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., missed votes last week. The 80-year-old Cochran had a non-melanoma lesion removed from his nose earlier this week. He is expected to vote on the tax bill.