ARIZONA NEWS

Ousted congressman blames John McCain for Democratic takeover

Nov 12, 2018, 3:01 PM | Updated: Nov 13, 2018, 10:57 am
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – There’s been plenty of finger-pointing about who is to blame for Republicans losing control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and one ousted GOP congressman is pointing his finger at John McCain.

That’s right, Rep. Jason Lewis of Minnesota thinks the Democratic takeover is the late Arizona Republican icon’s fault.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece published Sunday, Lewis argued that McCain’s famous thumbs-down on the Senate floor to kill the attempted “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act in July 2017 led to the GOP’s undoing in the midterm House elections.

“McCain’s last-minute decision prompted a ‘green wave’ of liberal special-interest money, which was used to propagate false claims that the House plan ‘gutted coverage for people with pre-existing conditions,’” Lewis wrote.

“That line was the Democrats’ most potent attack in the midterms.”

Lewis argued that the Republican replacement plan known as the American Health Care Act had provisions “to alleviate the pre-existing condition problem, not exacerbate it.”

McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer shortly before the dramatic vote. He died a little over a year later, on Aug. 25.

He was among three Republicans to vote against the repeal legislation in the Senate.

Democrats took back control of the House after hammering Republicans on pre-existing conditions, citing the GOP’s repeal efforts and an ongoing lawsuit from 20-plus Republican attorneys general to repeal former President Barack Obama’s health care law. Lewis was among the Republicans unseated last week, losing his suburban Minneapolis-area seat to Democratic challenger Angie Craig.

Lewis argued that McCain’s vote was motivated by distaste for President Donald Trump and not by policy concerns.

Lewis’s column first appeared online Monday, on Veteran’s Day. McCain was a decorated war hero, former prisoner of war and one-time Republican presidential nominee.

McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, called Lewis’s remarks “abhorrent” on Twitter. Lewis’s campaign manager did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lewis is no stranger to controversy. His past career as a conservative talk show radio host was a campaign issue in his 2016 election and again during his failed 2018 bid for a second term, including years-old remarks in which he wondered aloud why he couldn’t call a woman “a slut” and said it’s not the federal government’s place to ban slavery.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Ousted congressman blames John McCain for Democratic takeover